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Senior Assisted Living Blog

Retirees Should Consider Senior Living Communities

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNHome ownership has long held an honored position as an integral part of the American dream.

But when retirement time comes, rethinking that dream could be in order. Sometimes senior living communities are the better bet both financially and in terms of the retiree’s changing lifestyle and health.

When people plan for retirement, they focus on things like how much they have saved, how much Social Security will pay, and whether they have pension. But as you get older, you also need to think about such issues as whether you can keep mowing the lawn or handling other day-to-day chores that homeownership requires. If you must hire someone to do them for you, how much will that eat into what may already be a tight monthly budget?

The truth: There’s no answer that will fit everyone’s situation. So, retirees or those approaching retirement, should weigh their personal pros and cons. There’s a lot to think about. Should you sell the house you raised your family in and downsize to something more suitable for just the two of you? If you’re planning to move to somewhere else in the country to enjoy your retirement, is it more prudent to buy in that new location, or is leasing the way to go to give you more flexibility if it doesn’t work out?

Some things retirees should think about as they ponder the question include:

Maintenance issues. When you own a home, every leaky faucet, electrical problem or faulty appliance is yours to handle as best you can. If you can do it yourself, great; but often, these household repairs mean calling in a professional at a sometimes-exorbitant cost. When you rent, it’s up to the landlord or the property management company to take care of the repairs.

Mobility. Selling a house can be a long and complicated process, and you never know what the market might be like when the time arrives. Whereas breaking a lease is much simpler. If your children are scattered all over the country, you may want to move closer to one of them. Also, if your health takes a turn for the worse, selling a home can be a significant burden on your family.

The inheritance. For many people, a house is the most valuable asset in their estate and they might want to leave it to their children in the will. Once again, it’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons. Having a home to pass down to the children is a noble gesture, but it is not always feasible.

Before considering if senior living is the right option, it’s essential to review all the intricacies of your situation and decide based on your finances and your overall health and well-being.

For more information contact Spring Arbor.


The Upsides to Downsizing to a Senior Living Community

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 18, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCDownsizing sometimes gets a bad rap. Upon hearing the phrase, many people automatically assume that downsizing is something negative, but in reality, there are plenty of positive aspects to scaling down from your current home. From having less to clean to being free from other obligations of having a larger home, there’s a lot to look forward to when downsizing.

On the other hand, leaving a beloved home can be tough emotionally, mentally and physically. But with the right mindset and a plan in place, transitioning to a smaller living space in a senior living community becomes less painful.

What follows are some of the best aspects of downsizing, perks of moving into an senior living community, and bright spots to look forward to when transitioning to a smaller home.

There’s Less to Maintain

Owning and maintaining a home is a lot of work. There’s endless cleaning that needs to be done, repairs that need to be made and upkeep that needs to be completed. With a smaller living space, that list of chores and to-dos around the house dwindles, leaving you with more time to focus on the things you enjoy.

It Can Help You Shop Smarter

Artful advertising designed to influence consumers and encourage impulse buys are just about everywhere these days. Anyone can fall prey to something that looks like a good deal or sounds like something they “need” and be influenced by clever and strategic marketing. But when living in a smaller place, you’ll need to become more critical about what you purchase in order to avoid clutter.

Redecorating Opportunities Abound

Redecorating can be a lot of fun -- even more so when there’s a brand new space to work with. Downsizing gives you the opportunity to redesign your space, come up with new concepts and get creative with your storage spots. That can mean experimenting with different setups, getting creative and investing in furniture that doubles as extra storage to save on space.

For those in need of more storage space, an on demand storage company is one option to stow any excess items you don’t want to part with. These companies handle the logistics of putting belongings safely into storage.

Help is On Hand

One of the clearest benefits to moving into a senior living community is having assistance at the ready. For those in assisted living communities, on-site caregivers mean residents and their families can worry less, and rest assured that medications, daily activities and nutrition are being monitored and assessed. For those who need help with activities of daily living, like dressing, eating and bathing, having these accessible caregiver services at home is invaluable.

Socialization and A Sense of Community

When transitioning from an empty home to a senior living community, there are lots of new opportunities to form a community and socialize with neighbors. Isolation is a real problem for many elderly adults, especially if their spouse has passed away and other family members live far away.

In a senior living community, residents have peers who live close by, scheduled activities and outings they can participate in, not to mention time to take up hobbies and develop new friendships.

For more information on senior living contact Spring Arbor.


Professional, Compassionate Senior Living Communities

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 11, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNJust as your family makes a house a home, our family of dedicated professionals makes Spring Arbor a place where our residents feel loved, like an extension of family. From Residential Assisted Living to Alzheimer's Care, our team nurtures each resident's independence by promoting dignity and choice within a setting of compassionate care. Whether it's our chef adding some extra flair to a birthday dessert, or an Executive Director calling a resident's loved one to share a moment of joy, our commitment to serving each resident is passionate and consistent. This day-to-day interaction with our residents is the number one reason families choose Spring Arbor. A wonderful peace of mind comes from knowing we treat your family as our very own.

Spring Arbor Signature Programs Enhance Daily Life

Enhancing the lives of residents in our senior living communities is very important to us. Our signature programs bring unparalleled quality and dignity to the lives of our residents while simultaneously inspiring confidence, trust and peace of mind for loved ones. We are proud of our assisted living and memory care programs. They have shown measurable success in enriching the lives of our residents. Below are some of the most popular programs that we offer at each of our communities!

Art from the Heart

Through the creativity that is represented by colors and patterns, residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia can speak to their loved ones, proving that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. The Art from the Heart program provides needed exercise for the brain and can help maintain and strengthen existing cognitive function. It’s also a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and to encourage socialization and creativity.

Hearts and Harmony

Hearts and Harmony is our signature music program that includes both individualized and group approaches to the benefits of music. Studies show that music is one of the only activities that stimulates and uses the entire brain. The Hearts and Harmony program helps to promote wellness, stress and pain management, memory enhancement and provides unique opportunities for communication and social interaction. Residents can enjoy customized playlists when they wish to enjoy music on their own or they can engage with the use of hand drums, bells and more in group sessions. Listening to musical favorites helps residents recall fond memories and assists them in reconnecting with family and caregivers.

Gardening Therapy

Research shows that access to the outdoors and physical activity are extremely beneficial for adults suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Gardening is a wonderful exercise for the mind and body, lowers blood pressure levels and stress, builds confidence, and more. Our Cottage Care Coordinators create programs centered on nature through gardening and other stimulating sensory opportunities in our welcoming and secure courtyard areas.

We believe it’s how you live that matters and that philosophy applies to every season of life. Regardless of age or ability, our communities strive to provide meaningful experiences and beneficial programs for all our residents. Our goal is to help each resident function at the highest level possible. Learn more, contact Spring Arbor and schedule a tour of your nearest community today!


HHHunt Brings Smart Tech to Two More Spring Arbor Communities

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 08, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCK4Connect has broadened its partnership with HHHunt's senior living division, which owns and manages Spring Arbor assisted living communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic, to bring K4Community to two additional Spring Arbor communities in Maryland.

The two new communities, Spring Arbor Crofton and Spring Arbor Frederick, are under construction and expected to open in the middle of this year and early next year, respectively. Once the communities are open, K4Community will be available to more than 300 Spring Arbor residents, as well as to their their family members and friends.

K4Community integrates home automation and health and social engagement features into one solution capable of automatically completing tasks, such as turning on lights or adjusting temperatures, while also allowing residents to engage with their fellow residents, family and friends via an app. And K4Community also provides staff members with management and analytics tools.

“Our residents have truly embraced the technology, which has added great value to their daily lives,” said Richard Williams, senior vice president of HHHunt's senior living division. “Based on its popularity in our other communities, there was no doubt that we would build K4Community into our newest senior living communities right from the start.”

The total number of Spring Arbor communities in which the technology has been or will be implemented is now 11.

“Since our partnership with HHHunt's senior living division began, we have continuously seen an adoption rate of 100 percent for K4Community's home automation features, and daily tablet usage has increased significantly among residents,” said F. Scott Moody, co-founder, CEO and chief member advocate of K4Connect.

For more information on the best in senior living communities, contact Spring Arbor.


Picking the Right Retirement Community

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNChoosing the right retirement community can be daunting. Luckily, there are many options for seniors. When analyzing those options, it is important to consider one’s activity level, degree of independence, health care requirements and finances to be sure to find the right fit.

Over-55 retirement communities are perfect for the transitional period when you no longer want to be responsible for the upkeep of home and property, but still capable of living (and thriving) independently. These communities often provide exterior home maintenance, lawn care and snow removal, as well as social activities for older adults.

There are many 55-plus communities available to those with lower incomes. Many seniors and veterans rent affordable, high-quality senior housing through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-sponsored senior housing programs. This housing also is available to younger disabled individuals.


When seniors require more help with dressing, bathing or eating, but do not require full-time nursing care, assisted living is an option. Later, nursing homes provide continuing nursing and health-related services to residents.

It is a common misconception that Medicare will pay for assisted living or nursing home care. In fact, Medicare only covers 90 days in a nursing home – for rehabilitative services.

AARP reports that while “more states are starting to cover some services under Medicaid or other government programs, public payment is not common in the assisted living industry. … About four out of five people pay for [this type of facility] out of pocket.”


Finally, continuing care retirement communities offer the full spectrum of care (tiered care) to residents: independent living, assisted living, memory support and health care. Sometimes that monthly fee increases as needs increase. The fact is, some residents will require more time and attention than others. It is better to address those needs individually rather than increase service fees for everyone.

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.


Questions to Ask when Looking for Memory Care

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 21, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAWhen it comes to finding the right memory care community for your loved one, questions about the costs and services provided may come to mind. But, memory care communities offer a range of services, some of which might be more important to your loved one than others.

If you are considering memory care for your loved one, understand that many assisted living communities offer a special memory care unit (SCU) on a separate wing or floor. Or, you can choose an independent memory care community – just remember that memory care is specialized skilled nursing distinct from assisted living. Care costs are generally higher at these communities, even if the memory care unit is part of an assisted living facility.

Regardless of whether you choose a memory care facility or SCU, know that staff members have received special training to assist people with dementia or impaired cognition. Common services include 24-hour supervised care, medical monitoring and assistance with daily living tasks, in addition to a pleasing environment that is easy for residents to navigate.

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Memory Care Community

As you search for memory care communities, you will eventually come up with a list of your top choices. It is important to take time to tour each one, if possible. Ask questions of staff and other families whose loved ones reside at the community, to determine if the community is the right fit for your loved one.

Here are some questions that you may want to ask memory care communities you’re considering:

  1. What level of care does the community provide?
  2. What type of training has the staff received?
  3. What is the monthly rate for housing and care? What services does that rate include?
  4. Are rooms private or semi-private? How do prices vary for each?
  5. What level of personal assistance can residents expect?
  6. What is the policy for handling medical emergencies?
  7. How is the community secured?
  8. What meals are provided? Are special dietary requests, such as kosher meals, accommodated?
  9. How often are housekeeping and laundry service provided?
  10. What programs (exercise, physical therapy, social and other activities) does the facility offer?
  11. Does the facility accommodate special care needs, such as diabetic care, mobility issues, physical aggressiveness or wandering?
  12. Are residents grouped by cognitive level?
  13. What is the ratio of staff to residents during the day/night?
  14. How does the facility communicate with families about a resident’s well-being?
  15. What is the discharge policy?

Families making care decisions about loved ones far away may want to make sure they know where a community is located and perhaps consider travel costs.

Having an Advocate in Your Search

If you need help finding assisted living or memory care for your loved one, A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors can help you devise a plan and offer local expertise on the communities available in your area. Think about talking to friends and others you may know who have gone through this decision-making process. Their insights can help you in your search and give you much-needed support in what can be a very trying time for your family and your loved one.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor


How to Prepare for Alzheimer’s Care

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNAlzheimer’s disease is challenging for everyone; for the person diagnosed and for the loved ones who will be caring for them. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is difficult, but with knowledge and support you can better navigate and determine eventual Alzheimer’s care options.

Early stage Alzheimer’s care preparations

It is better to do some Alzheimer’s care preparations sooner rather than later. At first, it may be hard to consider these questions because it means you have to think about your loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. But being prepared early provides a smoother transition for everyone. Include the person with Alzheimer’s in the decision-making process as much as possible or at least try to act on what their wishes would be.

Questions to consider in preparing for Alzheimer’s and dementia care:

Who will make healthcare and/or financial decisions when the person is no longer able to do so? If your loved one is still lucid enough, getting their wishes down on paper means they’ll be preserved and respected by all members of the family. Consider meeting with an elder law attorney to best understand your options. You’ll want to consider power of attorney, both for finances and for healthcare. If the person has already lost capacity, you may need to apply for guardianship/conservatorship.

How will care needs be met? Sometimes other family members assume that a spouse or nearest family member can take on caregiving, but that is not always the case. Caregiving becomes more challenging over time. The person will eventually need round-the-clock memory care. Communication is essential to make sure that the needs of the Alzheimer’s patient are met, and that the caregiver has the support to meet those needs.

Where will the person live? Is their home appropriate, or is it difficult to access or make safe for later? If the person is currently living alone or far from any family or other support, it may be necessary to relocate or consider a facility with more support.

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


Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Those with Dementia

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 11, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAMother’s Day is here. For those whose have mothers with Dementia or who have moms living in a memory care home, it may be challenging to think of gift ideas. Below are a few suggestions of great gifts for people living with dementia:

  • An Ipod filled with all her favorite music along with comfortable headphones
  • Framed family pictures
  • Scrapbooks of your Mom’s life, work, and awards
  • Photo albums of fun family pictures
  • Taped readings or poetry
  • Scented lotions and a back rub
  • A favorite dessert baked just for her
  • A drive around town
  • New pillow, sheets or comforter
  • Soft lap blanket or throw
  • Large print books
  • Soft fuzzy slippers or cozy pajamas
  • A leisurely stroll through a favorite place, some place of meaning from her past
  • A Memory Box filled with mementos of interest to her
  • Jigsaw puzzle with less pieces and larger pieces
  • Window garden
  • Video of a family gathering

And remember, the love and support you give your Mom throughout the year is the greatest gift.


Considerations For Retirement and Senior Living

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCA lot of preparation goes into retirement — 401(k)s, IRAs, downsizing. In the midst of maximizing your savings and planning for the future, it is crucial not to lose sight of the bigger picture, like where you plan to live. Making sure your home is equipped for your specific needs can be quite the undertaking. Here are the most important things seniors need in a home for retirement.

Location, location, location

With most of life’s big decisions, location is key, but even more so when you are basing those decisions on your golden years. The location of where you live should seamlessly integrate into the lifestyle you want. Are you within quick access to good health care? Is being near a hub airport important to you and your visiting family members? Would you prefer to avoid cold winters? These are all questions you should answer prior to choosing a senior living community.

Make sure you have an open floor plan with wide hallways

As frightful as it may be, living in a place with a wide open floor plan and handicap accessible hallways is imperative. The chances are high that at a certain point you or your partner will need those wide hallways for wheelchair accessibility or a walker, and the last thing you want to deal with is having to move again. Take the floorplan into consideration before making a move.

Be sure everything is easily accessible

To avoid completely relinquishing your daily tasks such as laundry, cooking, dishwashing, and even showering, move to a community that will accommodate your needs. Senior living communities are outfitted for aging residents to comfortably complete daily tasks. That includes step-in showers and eye-level appliance setups.

Avoid stairs

Stairs will likely turn into the bain of your existence. Purchasing a single-level home will take away a lot of the stress and anxiety associated with your daily routine, plus you won’t have to install any expensive lifts to get you up and down those pesky stairwells.

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.


Mother's Day Gift Guide for Senior Moms

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 03, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCStill unsure what to get Mom for Mother’s Day this year?

Most children know it's not how much you spend. Moms enjoy receiving thoughtful, meaningful gifts —no matter how old they are.

When choosing a gift for an older mother, keep in mind her needs, capabilities and living situation. If she's moved into a senior living community and has a studio or one-bedroom apartment, she probably doesn't need any more knick-knacks. That could be true even if she's living at home since older moms have had years to collect memorabilia and decor.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What needs can you meet with a thoughtful gift?
  • Is there a treat or fun item Mom would never buy for herself?
  • Does the gift fit with your mom's lifestyle and living situation?

We’ve rounded up some options that can help make Mom’s life easier and allow for some much-deserved pampering.

Bag Balm has provided skin care products for more than a century, so the brand just may evoke memories for Mom. Bag Balm makes lip balm, soap, lotion and other moisturizing products that help treat dry, chafed or sensitive skin.

Since the product hasn't changed much through the years, moms who remember it may appreciate receiving this gift all the more. It’s another reliable option for last-minute gifting, available at Walmart and many major pharmacies.

You can't go wrong with a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book on Mother's Day, says licensed psychotherapist Lisa Hutchison. The brand publishes a variety of books, which makes it easy to customize your gift to fit your mom's interests.

Hutchison, who’s also a contributing writer for the series, suggests the series’ For Mom with Love edition, which includes 101 inspiring stories specifically for mothers. The volume includes a story she wrote about her mother's positive approach to life after a stroke.

Author Breeda Miller points out that "many senior moms are now caring for their 90-plus-year-old mothers themselves." That puts older moms in a position that can be exhausting, with little time for themselves.

Miller's book, "The Caregiver Coffeebreak," provides resources to help caregivers take those much-needed breaks and care for their older loved one. "I have written a little book I wish I had when I was my mother's caregiver," says Miller. The book itself is easy to slip into a purse, so caregivers can take it with them as they run errands or transport their loved one to medical appointments.

TimerCap provides an easy way for anyone to see when they last took a pill. The device replaces the cap that comes with a typical prescription pill bottle, and each time the bottle is opened, a stopwatch clock on the cap restarts.

TimerCaps come with space for writing the appropriate dosages, so the user knows exactly how many hours they're supposed to wait between taking pills. This item is an inexpensive, easy way seniors can increase medication compliance. It can be found at drugstores including CVS and Walgreens, making it an easy last-minute Mother's Day gift that can bring both you and Mom peace of mind about remembering her daily medication.

No matter where your mom lives, if she's also a grandmother, you can delight her with a customized book from I See Me. "My Super-Bestest Grandma" is an adorable picture book printed with the name of your child (or children) and the appropriate moniker for your mother (whether it's Grandma, Nana, or something else).

It's not just a cute gift to adorn the bookshelf. A customized book that your mom will love reading with the featured grandchildren can also provide the gift of quality time.

The chest access hoodie is a collaborative project from Care+Wear and Oscar de la Renta. Care+Wear CEO and co-founder Chat Razdan says the company's design team worked with patients and clinicians at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center for their input to design a comfortable, attractive hoodie that helped make medical treatments easier for patients with a chest port-a-cath or central line.

Choose from three sizes and two colors to gift Mom a comforting wearable for treatment days. As an added bonus: a portion of the sales is given to cancer patients on an ongoing basis.

When senior moms are suffering from dementia, it can be difficult to find an appropriate gift. One option might be a customized stuffed animal from My Petsies. According to My Petsies, studies indicate that patients with mid-to-late stage Alzheimer's continue to feel deep emotions associated with memories they made with their pets, and stuffed animals have been shown to bring comfort to dementia patients.

My Petsies creates custom stuffed animals that look like someone's previous or current pet to better foster that comfort.

Limited mobility doesn't have to keep Mom at home, and upgrading her walker can give her the confidence to stay active within her social circle or community. The Motivo Tour walker is one option that’s made to enhance posture to reduce back and neck pain. It also comes with options such as cup holders, storage compartments and a sturdy tray that can hold a laptop or dinner plate.

From customized stuffed animals to specialty clothing and medication reminders, gifts that bring comfort, joy and functionality to Mom in 2018 are sure to be great choices. Choose something from this list, or any gift that simply says how much you care.

For more information on caring for senior parents, contact Spring Arbor.