Angela Neale Clark MBA, RN is the CEO and Founder of Living Your Choice, a free Placement Company that guides seniors and their families to build a customized plan for senior living options. Angela has had over twenty years experience in the industry and has helped thousands of families. She can be reached at 800-419-9098 ext. 801 or visit www.LivingYourChoice.com
Many seniors today are hesitant to consider senior living communities as a potential living option. You might still view senior living as “the home” or “a place for old people” but the opposite is really true.
Today you will discover senior living has evolved into extremely upscale vibrant communities offering resort style living with amenities such as chef prepared meals, full social calendars, transportation and much more.
The ultimate goal of today’s senior living community is to provide you the opportunity to lessen your workload and increase your support and safety, with the added opportunities of having more relationships with like-minded people.
Even if your decision might be down the road, planning now is the key to success. It is always better to be proactive when approaching important issues rather then waiting for a crisis to force a difficult decision. Always strive to be prepared for any eventuality and make decisions for the quality of life you desire.
Senior living communities deal with many of the issues you might face today in your personal residence.
Solution:It’s amazing the improvement in your quality of life with three chef prepared meals each day that are specifically designed with a senior diet in mind.
Solution:Senior living communities handle all your maintenance needs and the staff is trained to observe and correct safety concerns. Communities are staffed 24 hours a day.
Solution:Senior living offers the opportunity to mix with hundreds of like-minded people each day.
Solution:Senior living communities have trained staff to aide in all your personal hygiene needs.
Solution:Senior living communities offers a single monthly price that includes your rent, food, entertainment, utilities, and they even provide a bus for your transportation needs.
I highly recommend you take the leap of faith and visit one of your local senior living communities. We are happy to help you in any area of Southern California. There is no obligation with any visit and you might be surprised to find a vibrant, exciting community that will add a great deal of fun and fulfillment to your life.
Even better most communities are happy to provide a free lunch or dinner. Take this opportunity to chat with many of the current residence and solicit their feedback. I am confident you will find the seniors love their communities and the biggest regret they always have is not making the decision to move earlier.
No one wants to spend most of their days at home alone with a television or having limited interactions with others. Isolation and loneliness is becoming an increasing problem in our busy, fast paced world.
Pay attention to your daily schedule or that of the loved one you care for. Focus on the type of activities that actually fills the day, and with whom? Many studies are showing that isolation and a lack of socialization can lead to memory issues as well as depression for seniors.
The next step is to look at possible socialization resources in your community. I highly recommend looking into local Senior Centers; they offer the opportunity to mix with contemporaries while also making available a wide variety of dynamic activities. Joining a gym that offers group classes can also connect you with others to increase your circle of friends. Finally many local organizations need help and seniors can make a huge difference. Think about volunteering – organizations such as cities and hospitals often offer a wide variety of volunteer programs.
Senior living communities offer the opportunity to start living again and build a new network of connections. The definition of a community is a social unit of any size that shares common values. Senior living communities offer apartment style of living with restaurant dining and activities. It a supportive environment that can provide a renewed life on a daily basis – I can’t overstate enough the importance and power in social interaction to promote healthy living. Just think about being able to have a meal with other people, attend daily activities and programs, and always knowing there is someone there if you need help with anything at anytime. In a recent study at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found that seniors in the U.S who have an active social life may have a slower rate of memory loss.
Researchers found that seniors in the U.S who have an active social life may have a slower rate of memory loss
Socialization is not a housekeeper or caregiver stopping by the home for a few hours each week. Although many seniors generally have contact with their families throughout a week it is typically limited hours which just does not provide enough contact to truly fulfill our needs as human beings. We each require more interaction with others on a daily basis, this is why socialization is required for overall good health and well-being.
Senior living can be a scary conversation for many people while in fact most don’t know where to start or even what options are available in their local community.
Today, it’s still common for people to still use terms to describe senior living options as “The Home,” “Facility” or a “Room” while in actuality senior living communities offer stylish apartment type living with restaurant-style dining including many services such as entertainment, housekeeping and transportation. Today, there are a wide variety of options to meet any social or medical need spanning from true independent living to research based programs that support a better quality of life for those afflicted with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The biggest question tends to be “How do I start the conversation with my parents or spouse about researching a senior living option before a crisis occurs?” Additionally, the idea of sifting through all the many choices can be a both overwhelming and confusing. After all, this decision will probably be one of the more important decisions you and your family will make - so it is important to do your research and make the best decision that will enhance the aging process.
Senior living choices can be as simple as to downsize your home, have housekeeping services, provide socialization, or transportation. Times have changed and these are not “old folk homes.”
Here are a few tips to start the process:
Don’t wait for a crisis to start the conversation. Plan early and make sure it is an ongoing discussion. In a crisis you will often be rushed to make quick reactionary decisions. Senior Living communities have a lot to offer and you want to be able to take advantage of all they have with their services.
It’s always best to work with an expert in senior living - someone who not only knows all the options, but is willing to sit down with you and your loved ones to truly understand the needs and desired lifestyle.
Touring senior communities is truly the best way to educate yourself on all the many choices available today. How can you make decisions on something you have never experienced? Many people have a perception of what senior living is. Go experience it firsthand.
Making any change often creates fear of the unknown. Seniors often make statements such as: “I am not ready,” “I am not moving from my home,” or “I don’t need that yet.” Senior living choices can be as simple as to downsize your home, have housekeeping services, provide socialization, or transportation. Times have changed and these are not “old folk homes.” It is important to listen to the concerns of the senior and then address those concerns again when you are visiting communities to keep the conversation headed in the right direction.
Engage other seniors you may know that have already made the move to senior living to talk to you or your loved one. Ask them to come with you as you tour your options. If you don’t have friends that have made the decision yet, ask the community to match you with like- minded individuals so you can ask questions about their experience. This is the best way everyone can get a great picture of what life can be like in a community.
In the end it is important that your communication states your concern and avoids judgment or criticizing. Share your own emotions and concerns in relation to what you are seeing and feel your loved one requires. For example, “Dad I am really concerned that you are having pain, it’s getting harder for you to clean the house and cook nutritious meals consistently. This can really affect your health in the long run. There are some options we can explore that might make life easier for you.”
Lastly, it is always important to share that you are concerned and this is about a peace of mind for everyone. The right senior living decision is always an informed one.