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Senior Assisted Living Blog

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.


Downsize Your Home for Retirement

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 27, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNIf you haven’t managed to save up enough to make the best of your retirement, downsizing is a path you can take to unlock some much needed finances. Most retirees secure their retirement income through downsizing and moving to a smaller space that not only costs less to maintain, but is also located in an area that delivers more comfort and satisfaction.

Rather than getting yourself worried and wondering, “When can I retire to get social security benefits?” you could start today by choosing the option of downsizing your home. Here are assured steps to achieve success with that objective.

Have clear goals for downsizing after retirement

The typical person has two goals for pursuing a downsizing after retirement. There’s usually the financial goal which is to make profit by releasing equity from the home. The other is a lifestyle goal, which is often aimed at moving to another home in order to conveniently switch to a different lifestyle. An example is downsizing so you can move somewhere closer to your family.

It’s important to know your goals and keep them in mind throughout the downsizing process so that the results you are after are what you actually accomplish.

There’s a right time to downsize. (Don’t leave it too late and or do it too early)

Timing is essential. If you sell your bigger home when the property market is down, you are going to end up with a bad deal that might end up severely compromising your goals. When attempting to sell your home at the right time, there are a host of factors to consider such as interest rates, worth of your property, the economy, and others.

Pick ideal home and location for relocation

Downsizing doesn’t necessarily have to imply a downgrade. You can move to a more serene location, closer to your grown children, or a space that offers more comforts than your former home, but with less space to manage. Therefore, carefully consider your options, there are lots of things to think about such as weather, neighborhood, access to medical care, cost, view, et cetera.

Try out the new location

If your goal has always been to downsize after retirement, there’s a high chance that you already have a good idea of where you’d like to relocate to. If that’s the case, why not try out the proposed location before taking the final leap. You could try vacationing in the area for a while so you can get a realistic feel of the environment and determine if it is really the right option for you.

If the location proves not to be all you thought it would, there’s no harm in exploring new choices and trying them out as well.

Don’t forget that downsizing possessions can also cut cost

Rather than focus solely on downsizing your home, how about also looking to downsize on your possessions? Things you don’t actually need or other belongings that cost more to maintain than they add value to your life are better off sold off.

Keep an eye on your spending

Changing homes can be quite costly. To avoid costs sneaking up on you and throwing your budget out of whack, be sure to plan your move carefully and ensure every aspect of the move is progressing according to budget, not beyond it. You can evaluate your spending by comparing your projected budget to what you are actually spending as your move progresses.

With these tips, you are in a better position to ensure that your efforts at downsizing your property yield the type of results you actually want.

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.


Maybe 90% Of Older People Don't Want To Live At Home

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 19, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAResearchers keep producing articles and reports saying that older people want to live at home. Well, duh! If you ask anyone about living at home you’re going to get the same response. What I really want to know is, of those people who are infirm, that is, cannot make it to the bathroom on their own, feed themselves, go to the store, or bathe themselves safely (all the Activities of Daily Living), how many of them want to live at home, especially if it means living by themselves? That’s the really important piece of information needed to make real decisions and policies.

I find it curious that when you ask these same older people about whether they'd want to live at home if they knew their family would have to take care of them, they respond “No.”

What’s also curious to me is, what is the real question these respondents are answering? When my mother-in-law was living in an assisted living facility she kept repeating to us, “I want to go home.” We kept wondering what she meant and asked, “Where do you mean?” Turns out, she didn’t mean the last place she had lived in before moving into the facility. Or even to the house she and her husband lived in for 40 years. She meant the past. She wanted to go back to the time when she was living in her wonderful home with her family and most of her life was ahead of her.

I’m in the demographic group that researchers survey. That is, I’m “over 65.” (According to a widely cited study by the AARP, almost 90% of those 65 and older want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible.) And of course I want to live at home. If I didn’t, I'd move. And if could afford it, I’d move myself into a hotel or, better yet, a full-time resort. Or if I didn’t like my current home, I’d move to another one. The key here is that I know I’m perfectly capable of living by myself.

I also want to know the feelings people would have about living "at home" if they knew they'd be living alone. I think we know the answer to that. After my stepmother died, my father lived in the apartment by himself and had a caregiver live there with him. The apartment was far from me and from my brother. My father wasn’t mobile, he had few friends since he had outlived most of them, and the few that were left never came to visit. Plus, he needed someone to live with him — to prepare his meals, clean, get him to and from the bathroom, etc., all the activities of daily living. Still, he said he wanted to stay in the apartment. And so he did. After a few months he told us that it was getting too hard for him and he was feeling too lonely being by himself all the time, even with the caregiver we had hired. So then he told us he wanted to move, and it was with our blessing. He moved into an assisted living facility closer to my brother, and there my father lived out the rest of his life. He was much happier there and had frequent visits from the family. He didn’t have a lot of friends at the facility. But meals were with other people and sometimes they talked with each other. He went to a few activities and again, he interacted with people, not just the one caregiver he would have had access to at home. He told me, close to the end of his life as it turned out, that he was happy there. He used the word “content.” Moving to the facility was definitely the right thing to do. And had researchers asked him about whether he wanted to live at home, he would have said, “No, I didn’t want to live at home.” For one, he had too many bad memories of what it had been like for him at home after his wife died. But really, he would have said, “I couldn’t manage by myself and, frankly, I was lonely.”

So I challenge researchers to sample the right population before making sweeping comments about how “older people” want to live in their homes. Also, researchers, be sure you define what the word “home” means to the people you’re surveying. “90% want to live at home” makes a great headline. But it’s a meaningless statistic.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.