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Senior Assisted Living Blog

Signs Your Loved One May Need Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 09, 2018

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCBelow is a checklist of things to look for next time you visit your parent to help determine if there are physical or mobility problems where assisted living could help. If you think your family member may be dealing with cognitive issues or memory-loss check out the checklist on recognizing potential mental impairment issues.

1. Does your family member's skin feel soft and have a normal color?

Dry, cracked skin can be a sign of dehydration. Prolonged dehydration can have serious consequences for the elderly. Skin should feel supple and not appear red or irritated. Also, be on the lookout for unusual tearing or bruising. Wounds heal more slowly with age and put seniors at greater risk for infection. Bruising may indicate balance or vision problems - your family member may be bumping into furniture or doors they can't see.

2. Can your family member see clearly?

Vision loss can be a significant barrier to remaining independent. Your family member may no longer be able to drive safely which impacts their ability to go food shopping or attend doctor's appointments. They may no longer be able to read their medications and may not be taking their medications in the right dosages. Pay attention to whether a senior can read street signs or labels or are able to read newspaper or books.

3. Can your family member hear you?

Loss of hearing can significantly decrease a senior's quality of life. Hearing aids may be required for the senior to understand instructions from doctors or pharmacists, or even more importantly, hear smoke or fire alarms. When you speak with your family member, are they able to understand you at a normal tone of voice? Do they respond if you call them and their back is turned toward you? Many hearing-impaired seniors read lips as a way of communicating which can sometimes mask problems.

4. Is there food in the refrigerator?

The amount of healthy, fresh food in the home is a good indicator of whether a senior is well nourished and able to accomplish basic tasks such as cooking and grocery shopping. You should check to see if the refrigerator or pantry is well stocked with nutritious items, and that containers have current expiration dates. Make sure food does not smell bad or have mold growing on it. You should determine if your family member can properly navigate the kitchen and safely handle potentially hazardous appliances.

5. Are medications current and being taken regularly?

Mixing up or not taking prescribed medications can severely impact a senior's health. Take note of the number of medications and whether or not they are prescribed by several physicians. Risk of taking the wrong medication increases with a higher number of medications or doctors. Check to make sure the medications are not expired. This could indicate that your family member has not been keeping their regular doctor's appointments. Professional assisted care can help prevent potentially devastating mix-ups and make sure your family member is attending their scheduled appointments.

If, after analyzing the situation, you feel that your loved one may need assisted living services, there are many long-term care options available which will allow them to remain independent within a safe setting.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.


Making Downsizing Easier

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 02, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCAs homeowners near retirement age, downsizing becomes a more frequent discussion. The idea of selling your larger home and moving into something more manageable and financially friendly is appealing. But, there is also a fair amount of apprehension — probably because you’ve heard horror stories of downsizing gone wrong.

To make sure your experience is a successful one, avoid these common mistakes.

Not Planning Ahead

Downsizing requires a lot of physical and mental energy. Anyone over age 50 should start thinking through their future plans sooner, rather than later.

Many homeowners are forced to downsize after a major life event...maybe the death of a spouse or a sudden health issue. These events are stressful enough without adding in a complicated move.

Remember that downsizing effectively comes down to time and thoughtful consideration. If you don’t plan ahead, and give yourself plenty of time, you’ll end up making mistakes.

Cleaning Out Your Possessions All At Once

It’s not likely that you’ll be able to fit everything you own into your new home. As part of the planning process, make sure to leave yourself time to critically go through your belongings. The key to is to purge things you don’t need without getting rid of things you do need. This sounds simple, but for many of us it’s not.

Keep any items you currently use or use seasonally, and sell or give away items that no longer have a practical purpose. To make it easy, follow the one-year rule: if you haven’t used a particular item in the last year, you’re unlikely to use it at all.

Also, look carefully at the layout and space in your new home to determine what furniture pieces will work. For instance, you may be able to keep your dining room table, but the accompanying hutch probably won’t fit in the new space. It’s better to make these big decisions before you move so you don’t end up paying to haul or store extra furniture.

Prioritize comfort over things. It will be impossible to enjoy your new home when it’s crammed full of ill-fitting possessions.

Decluttering is definitely a difficult and emotional task for many homeowners because so many possessions involve memories. To make it a bit easier, consider giving items to friends and family. It can be comforting knowing cherished belongings are going to someone you love. For anything left over, schedule a pickup with an organization like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, which accepts donated furniture and then sells it and uses the proceeds to build homes for those in need.

Not Considering Lifestyle

A big mistake many transitional buyers make is not considering their needs and lifestyle. Imagine that you get all settled into your new place only to find out you can no longer take part in the hobbies you love, or you realize that amenities you were used to are now farther away. This already difficult and emotional move will soon become a very negative experience.

Not Setting Expectations for Children

The downsizing process can often be just as emotional for adult children as it is for the homeowners, especially if they grew up in the home. Convissor says every family dynamic is different, but he’s had several experiences with clients whose children were resistant to the change.

Start the conversation with them early, and involve them in the process as much as possible. But, be careful not to let their emotions about the house stop you from making the right decision for your future.

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.


What You Need to Know: Basic Facts About Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 30, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCIt’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.

1. Cost is usually a top concern whenever people hunt for housing. Here’s a good basic fact: Assisted living generally costs much less than nursing home care.

In 2016 the licensing group CareScout compared costs using data they collected from 4,400 geographic regions of the US. They report than 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.

2. 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. With all kinds of activities, there’s something for everyone! Educational activities such as art classes and computer lessons are offered too. Generally the larger the assisted living community, the more activities it sponsors.

3. 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.

4. 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, LGBT issues, vegetarianism and community service.

5. 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.


Stages of Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 20, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TN Health care providers describe Alzheimer’s as having three stages: mild, moderate and severe. Researchers have also identified a pre-clinical period. During pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease, brain changes might be evident on an MRI but symptoms of these changes aren’t evident.

Independent living is possible with mild Alzheimer’s symptoms. For example, symptoms might be limited to:

  • Having trouble making plans or performing a work task
  • Being unable to remember the names of new acquaintances
  • Misplacing items and being unable to retrace one’s steps

The moderate stage of Alzheimer’s can last for several years or longer. During this time, changes in mood and personality are likely to arise. Alzheimer’s patients also tend to become restless in the middle stage. This could show up as insomnia, fidgeting and/or wandering. Becoming lost when wandering is a common danger to patients, so Alzheimer’s assisted living centers and nursing homes set up for memory care have especially secure perimeters. Eventually patients require 24-hour supervision. With severe Alzheimer’s a person needs health care and personal care support, and they need to be monitored for their own safety and the safety of others.

For more information on Alzheimer's Care, contact Spring Arbor.


Finding The Best Memory Care Facility

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCYour mom who is 78-years-old and lives alone forgets to pay her bills. She can’t remember how to use the kitchen stove. She forgets appointments. These are signs of memory loss, and she may need assisted living with memory care.

Memory care is a type of skilled nursing for people diagnosed with memory problems. Among seniors the typical memory care patient shows symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Some memory care patients have cognitive challenges resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other causes. Memory care is care for people who have diagnosed with memory loss and who need help with areas of daily living (ADLs).

If you or your loved suspects there is a memory problem, contact a medical professional for evaluation.

About Memory Loss

As we age, we lose brain cells. This loss of cells sometimes affects our ability to remember a name or remember where we left our car keys. These are often referred to as “senior moments.” It is a normal process of aging. But significant changes in our memory refer to something else.

When the term memory loss is used, it’s usually associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) because AD is the most common type of loss, occurring in about 5 million Americans. The broader term for memory loss is dementia (not a specific disease itself), which is the loss of memory from brain trauma, stroke, or a degenerative disease, as well as a loss of at least one other brain function like language.

Dementia affects your mental abilities, which affect your ability to carry out ADLs.

People with dementia usually have trouble solving problems, doing daily tasks, and may even have trouble controlling their emotions.

Here are some signs that are not part of normal memory loss.

  • Forgetting things much more often than you used to
  • Forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times before
  • Trouble learning new things
  • Repeating phrases or stories in the same conversation
  • Trouble making choices or handling money
  • Not being able to keep track of what happens each day

Alzheimer’s disease is according to the National Institute on Aging, an “irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.” It accounts for 50% to 80% of dementia cases.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are care options.

For their own safety — and the safety of others — a person with progressive dementia will eventually need 24-hour supervision. He or she will also need help with:

  • Personal Care,
  • Medication Management, and
  • other Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

At first the individual might be able to live at home with help from loved ones. Family can get support from in-home care providers and adult day care. But as dementia progresses and the patient’s needs grow, the spouse or other unpaid caregiver can become exhausted; we can only be superhuman for so long. Choosing a memory care facility becomes the best option. Most memory care centers are specialized nursing homes or specialized areas of nursing homes. Assisted living communities increasingly have memory care divisions too. Memory care centers ensure that residents won’t wander away; exits are carefully monitored. Employees and visiting specialists facilitate daily social events and potentially therapeutic activities. They provide meals, health care and personal care. All states regulate and license senior care centers, but many states lack special criteria for memory care nursing homes. It’s important to compare facilities carefully.

Choosing a memory care facility can be emotionally exhausting, but spending time on research can make a difference to your loved one’s quality of life and your family’s financial security. This article can streamline your task with an overview of what you need to know about when memory care is needed, what services are available, typical costs and payment solutions.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor.


Downsize Your Home and Right-Size Your Retirement

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 09, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TN Most likely your home is your biggest asset. It’s also your biggest expense. Unfortunately when it comes to retirement planning, the family home is often last on the list of later-in-life changes.

There are many reasons for this delay. Emotionally it’s difficult to let go of a home filled with memories; moving can be a big process; and downsizing to a smaller home or assisted living community may not produce a substantial cash windfall. For these reasons, many retirees delay for years moving.

However, in many cases the benefits of downsizing sooner rather than later can be significant.

The financial benefits may seem small initially, but in the long term they can extend the life of your retirement savings. You may hesitate to sell a mortgage-free house and move to senior living community with a monthly rent payment, but with a home many of the expenses are hidden. It’s the ongoing maintenance such as: roof, furnace, windows, grass cutting and landscaping or snow removal — not to mention the annual costs of heat, electricity and taxes on a large older home. These costs add up to a substantial amount.

Selling your home will eliminate any mortgage or other debt and reduce your monthly expenses. Add in the income you will earn from investing the equity of your home and the savings from no home maintenance. Compare that to the monthly rental with built in levels of care for assistance while you age.

In many cases retirees are financially better off by renting. If downsizing makes sense, don’t wait. Sometimes people have a hesitation to downsize because they like to keep the family home so when children and grandchildren visit they can stay there. You should carefully consider the cost of this decision. It’s cheaper to pay for a hotel for the relatives than cling to the family home and all its associated costs (taxes, maintenance, heat, etcetera).

Trading the variable and hidden costs of home ownership for the visible cost of a set monthly fee can help with planning and budgeting. You know what your fixed costs will be.

Even without a mortgage, housing will often account for 30 per cent of retirement expenses.

Besides the financial benefits, is simply the practicality. Many people fail to consider how the aging process makes it harder to move. The process is exhausting at a young age. It’s much more daunting for retirees.

For more information on senior living contact Spring Arbor.


Summer Travel with Parents with Dementia

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 02, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCWith the summer vacation travel season upon us, families cringe with anxiety at the thought of traveling with a loved one who struggles with a dementia. We are often be asked if a loved one with Alzheimer’s can travel, and how to prepare for the journey. If your loved one is still in the beginning, mild stage he or she may be able to enjoy the trip, but precautions and preparation are paramount to a successful trip.

New faces, new environments, a change in daily routine, not to mention a time zone change, can prove to be a challenge for the dementia patient. That being said, if your loved one is still in the early stages of the disease, you should consider planning trips to visit family and friends now, before the disease progress. Once the individual is in need of assistance with bathing, dressing and toileting, travel will present significant problems, even just a short drive will be problematic for the more advanced dementia patient. Individuals exhibiting any of the following most likely will have a very difficult time traveling:

  • Being disoriented, confused or agitated
  • Asking to go home
  • Difficulty managing bladder and bowel
  • Anxiety or isolating behavior
  • Agitation or signs of wandering
  • Paranoia, hallucinations
  • Being verbally or physically aggressive
  • Spontaneous crying
  • History of falls

You won’t know how your loved one will tolerate travel until you take that first trip. So test the waters by planning a short trip away from home. Perhaps a weekend at a favorite destination within an hour or so of home. Suffice it to say, if your loved one doesn’t do well on a short trip away, he or she most likely will not be able to tolerate an extended trip.

If your destination is more than a two hour drive you might want to consider traveling by plane or train. Try to travel on off peak days, and consider if it would be better for your loved one to spend a day traveling by car instead of a crowded plane or train.

If your trip is longer than 5 or 6 hours, make arrangements for someone else to go along so that you can take turns driving. Preferably, someone who has experience with dementia or someone familiar with your loved one. You don’t want to drive alone with a dementia patient who becomes easily agitated or aggressive. Dementia patients are likely to swing open the car door in an attempt to get out, grab at the steering wheel or hit the driver. Have your loved one sit in the back seat with your driving companion. If your car is equipped with child safety locks, make sure they are engaged prior to your departure; this will prohibit your loved one from opening the door during travel. If your loved one does become agitated or aggressive, pull over as soon as possible to help redirect and calm him or her.

Be sure to pack a few things to keep your loved one occupied and comfortable. Perhaps a book or magazines, playing cards, favorite music, a favorite object or blanket from home, photos of the people or places you are headed to visit. Snacks are a good way to keep your loved one occupied, and water is a must to help prevent dehydration.

Be prepared to make frequent rest stops along the route. Remember, your loved one can no longer tell you if they are hungry, thirsty, tired, need to be toileted, etc., so it’s up to you to keep track of these matters. When you do stop, don’t ever leave your loved one unattended – too many things can go wrong. The unfamiliar surroundings of a rest stop, restaurant or service station will cause confusion and may trigger your loved one to wander off or exhibit aggressive behaviors. Try to visit places that your loved one once enjoyed, places that might seem somewhat familiar.

Remember, dementia doesn’t take a vacation. Just because you’re on holiday it certainly doesn’t mean your loved one requires any less care. Consider bringing someone along who can help with the care giving needs. Plan your itinerary to include short sightseeing tours or visits to family and friends, time for your loved one to rest each day, and most importantly, try to maintain the same daily routine that your loved one has become accustomed to at home. This will help ease anxiety and agitation.

Prepare the essentials and keep them with you, this includes identification, emergency contacts, a photo of your loved one for identification purposes, medications, water, snacks, a change of clothes. Keep with you a message, business card size, that you can discreetly hand to restaurant servers, hotel staff, etc. that communicates your situation “Please be patient, my loved one has Alzheimer’s” or something similar. You should also be prepared to offer a simple statement should your loved one’s behaviors start to surface (“Please forgive my wife/husband/mom/dad, she/he is cognitively impaired”).

Be flexible. Have your Plan B laid out should you need to leave a visit early or return home early from your trip. If you’re making travel plans through a travel agent, consider purchasing travel insurance. Do not tell your loved one about the trip too far in advance, this will only bring on anxiety and constant questioning.

Traveling by air with an Alzheimer’s patient can present a whole slew of challenges. It is wise to get a letter from the doctor identifying that your loved one is an Alzheimer’s patient, under medical care, cannot process instructions, gets confused and agitated easily…etc. Speak with the doctor about medications that can help keep your loved one calm. Keep a list of medications handy. Be sure to contact airline personnel as well as airport security to alert them to your situation, ask about special accommodations (i.e. pre-boarding, attendant assistance, wheelchair, etc.). You should contact the airline at least 48 hours in advance of your travel date.

Plan to travel early in the day when your loved one is at his or her best. It’s better to fly nonstop whenever possible, especially if it’s a long trip - it’s well worth it to spend a little extra to fly nonstop. But, if you have to have a layover, make sure there is plenty of time between flights so you don’t have to rush your loved one. Have a plan in place should your plane be late, if you miss your connection or if a connecting flight is cancelled. The earlier you book your fight, the better chance you have of selecting your seats. Sit side-by-side and seat your loved one by the window, this way your loved one can’t just get up and wander. An MP3 player programmed with favorite music and headphones can help make the trip more enjoyable for your loved one – music is very calming and therapeutic for a dementia patient.

It will be difficult to juggle luggage, packages, flight bags, etc., all while managing your loved one. Pack lightly, and whenever possible ship your luggage or packages. This will free you up to focus on your loved one and you won’t have the hassle of waiting at baggage claim to locate your belongings.

Prior to departure for the airport, check all pockets, place anything that would set off the metal detector in a zip lock bag, including wallets, jewelry, watches, glasses, etc. Place the bag in your flight bag, carry on or purse. Make sure you have enough medications for several days and that your loved one has on him or her identification, list of medications, emergency contact information and information on their medical conditions.

Use the restroom just prior to the flight this will help avoid the need to use the airplane lavatory. If he or she must use the on in-flight lavatory, be prepared with a plan should your loved one need assistance, will he or she be able to maneuver in the confined space? Is there a chance they’ll lock themselves in and not be able to open the door?

Take along plenty of things to keep your loved one busy, as well as snacks, and drinks. There is always the risk of dehydration, which could make symptoms worse. A favorite food or treat is also a good way to redirect behaviors.

If at all possible, have a family member or friend waiting at your destination, or hire a car service so that you don’t have to wait in long lines.

It is very possible that the new environment will cause behaviors to surface and perhaps create a wander worry. Bring along a travel door alarm. They’re typically used to alert you to someone entering your room, but in the case of someone with dementia, the alarm can alert you to your loved one trying to leave the room. Enroll your loved one in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return program ( and be sure to have a current photo of your loved on hand or on your cell phone.

Remember, excessive stimulation, loud noise, hustle and bustle, too many faces and conversations are overwhelming to a dementia patient. Try to schedule as much alone time together as possible. Try to avoid crowded events and make restaurant reservations before the dinner crowd. Allow for extra time when planning activities, this will lessen the threat of agitation. Be sure that both you and your loved one get plenty of rest – it’s very draining, even for a healthy person, to travel, even more so for a dementia patient. With proper rest during the day and adequate sleep at night, you can help avoid creating more confusions and irritability.

Above all, have fun! Gear activities toward what your loved one is capable of, a quiet dinner, a visit to a museum or a walk on the beach. Your loved one’s memory is deteriorating, but they can still find joy in the moment.

For more information on dementia care, contact Spring Arbor.


Downsizing Could be a Good Retirement Move

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 29, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TN If there's one aspect of retirement that's universally daunting, it's the notion of running out of money. But unfortunately, it's a very real risk for the countless Americans who enter retirement financially unprepared year after year.

If you're approaching retirement with inadequate savings, there are several ways you can compensate to avoid depleting your nest egg prematurely. You might, for example, decide to work part-time as a senior to generate income, thereby leaving more of your nest egg intact. But here's another option you might consider: downsizing. An estimated 42% of Americans plan to downsize in retirement, according to data from TD Ameritrade, and it's a move that could end up spelling the difference between struggling financially and having enough cash to cover the bills for the rest of your life.

Why downsize in retirement?

Even if you own your home outright by the time you retire, downsizing to a smaller space can still save you a bundle. Remember, other than healthcare, housing will likely be your single greatest monthly expense as a senior, so reducing it as much as possible could work wonders for your budget.

For one thing, it costs less money to heat and cool a smaller space than a larger one. If you're used to spending $250 a month on utilizes for a 2,000-square-foot home, downsizing won't necessarily cut that bill in half -- but you might reduce it by a third, which will help.

Furthermore, it stands to reason that maintaining a smaller space is easier and more cost-effective than maintaining a larger one. The typical homeowner spends 1% to 4% of his or her property's value on upkeep per year, but if you downsize, you'll see maintenance costs shrink or disappear as a result.

Another thing to keep in mind is property taxes. Property taxes are a function of your home's value times your local tax rate, so if you sell you home, you'll no longer pay these taxes. And since property taxes are no longer fully deductible (they're part of the SALT deduction, which was once unlimited but is now capped at $10,000), lowering that bill makes sense on multiple levels -- particularly if you're living in a state whose property taxes are much higher than average.

Finally, remember that by the time you retire, there's a good chance your adult children will have moved out, which means you like won't need all of that space. And that's reason enough to swap your current home for a smaller one that's easier to deal with in all regards.

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.


The Motley Fool

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.