The Benefits of Senior Living

Help your patients and clients learn what a retirement community can do for them.

<p>The Benefits of Senior Living<br />This information can help you describe the lifestyle available at senior<br />living communities to your clients or patients.</p> <p>INTRODUCTION<br />If you work regularly with older adults&mdash;as a real estate agent, a financial planner, health care professional or in some other senior-serving role&mdash;you&rsquo;ve probably heard them talk about the future. Between health care, retirement and a home that no longer meets their needs, today&rsquo;s seniors have much to think about. They need sound advice from a trusted resource, someone who can guide them through their options.</p> <p>As lifestyles change, many older adults are looking for a way to remain as&nbsp;independent as possible for as long as possible. But they&rsquo;re also looking for help. Maybe they don&rsquo;t have energy for everyday tasks anymore. Or maybe they&rsquo;re just too busy traveling and playing with their grandkids to concern themselves with the laborious tasks of keeping a house clean, mowing the lawn or planning nutritious meals seven days a week. As the aging population expands tremendously&mdash;the result of increasing longevity and the aging of the baby boomers&mdash;more and more seniors&nbsp;will come to their trusted advisers looking for solutions. Many advisers refer them to senior living communities, which provide older adults&nbsp;with a lifestyle tailored to their current and future needs. They handle everything from household maintenance to transportation for seniors who want to continue to live independently. Plus, they make health care readily available for those who need (or will need) daily or even 24-hour care. Perhaps the best part is the social environment a senior living community provides. It&rsquo;s a place where older adults can live among people like them, find intellectual stimulation, enjoy outings with friends and generally avoid isolation.</p> <p>This guide can help you learn about the benefits of senior living. Pages 3&ndash;8 can be given to your clients or patients as a handout when talking through the benefits of senior living with them.</p> <p>You have names for it: retirement home, nursing home, senior home. But you may not really know what it&rsquo;s all about. Throw out that image of your grandmother&rsquo;s nursing home of yesteryear. Today&rsquo;s senior living&nbsp; communities are a far cry from the days of one-story brick buildings with aging adults in their last phase of life. Enter the senior living community. Senior living communities come in a variety of shapes and sizes: Many look like neighborhoods with cottages and single-family homes, while others look more like small college campuses with separate buildings<br />for housing, dining, fitness and other amenities. The goal of these communities isn&rsquo;t just to provide medical care&mdash;although health care is available on-site if and when you need it. The goal is really to provide older adults with a safe, secure place where they can live the lives they want to live&mdash;making new friends, exploring interests, living independently&mdash;without having to worry about daily tasks like home maintenance.</p> <p>This handout provides a brief background on the benefits of senior living. It could be a great solution that meets your financial, social, medical and housing needs and preferences at this stage in life.</p> <h3>Continuity of Care</h3> <p>The benefit&mdash;A senior living community&mdash;specifically a continuing care<br />retirement community, or CCRC&mdash;can provide multiple levels of care in one place. CCRCs typically offer independent living, assisted living, 24-hour skilled nursing and even memory care for people with dementia, all on one campus.</p> <p>What it means for you&mdash;If you do your homework early and move into a senior living community before a crisis occurs, you can live independently and enjoy the security of knowing it has higher levels of care available should you ever need them.</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of angst occurs&mdash;for seniors and their families&mdash;when a senior faces sudden health issues or physical limitations and the family is quickly trying to figure out how to handle it,&rdquo; says John H. Cochrane III, president and CEO of be.group, one of California&rsquo;s largest nonprofit providers of senior living communities. Senior living communities provide greater clarity and coordination around both the delivery of care as well as the decision-making process, Cochrane says. They can help families find the resources they need each step along the way, from getting Mom or Dad to the doctor to arranging for stroke recovery or rehabilitation services following a surgery.</p> <p>QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:<br />1. Do you have any current health or physical limitations for which you could use assistance?<br />2. Are you able to live independently now, without worry, because you know you have care available to you or can access care quickly if you need it?<br />3. How do you plan to find adequate care if a health crisis occurs suddenly? Will someone in your family help coordinate that care?</p> <h3>Full-service Amenities</h3> <p>The benefit&mdash;Senior living communities offer a wide array of amenities and services, from maintenance to transportation to a full schedule of programs and activities.</p> <p>What it means for you&mdash;If home maintenance, yard work and cooking are<br />keeping you from doing the things you really want to do, a move to senior living can provide relief. Residents in senior living communities can shop for groceries and cook in their kitchens if they want to&mdash;or they can elect to eat in the dining center, where chefs cook up nutritious meals suited to specific dietary needs.</p> <p>Senior living communities may also provide complimentary transportation and home maintenance, plus added levels of security.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s all about letting staff do the heavy lifting with you, says Cochrane, whose father-in-law moved into a single-family duplex in a be.group community. Instead of changing light bulbs, he now indulges his passion for gardening. &ldquo;He can still do the things he chooses to do, but not the things he doesn&rsquo;t want to do,&rdquo; Cochrane says.</p> <p>QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:<br />1. Are you still able to properly maintain your home, inside and out?<br />2. Would you enjoy letting someone else fix things when they break, clean your home and maintain your yard?<br />3. Is home maintenance keeping you from your hobbies and/or visiting with friends and family?</p> <h3>Aging Successfully With an Active Lifestyle</h3> <p>The benefit&mdash;Senior living communities provide a space to make new friends and try new activities, creating an opportunity for successful aging.<br />What it means for you&mdash;Staff in senior living create ways for you to engage with other people and stay active, from fitness activities to day trips and even extended vacations. It&rsquo;s a holistic approach, focused not just on your health needs but also on your spiritual, emotional and social needs. In this way, senior living communities can resemble a college campus with a daily array of planned activities, wellness programs and opportunities for impromptu social engagements such as card games or outdoor walks with friends.</p> <p>&ldquo;People in our communities will tell you they&rsquo;re living a more fulfilling lifestyle than those who remain in their homes,&rdquo; Cochrane says.</p> <p>QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:<br />1. Am I able to interact with friends and family on a daily basis?<br />2. Is my current lifestyle allowing me to get out and try new activities or take trips?<br />3. Am I as active and mobile as I could be?</p> <p>The choice to move to a senior living community could be a gift to yourself&nbsp;and to your family. It&rsquo;s a lifestyle change, a chance to live as&nbsp; independently as possible surrounded by a group of friends, with a level of security you can&rsquo;t get in your own home.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve decided that senior living is a good solution to your lifestyle needs, it&rsquo;s all about finding a community that&rsquo;s a good fit. &ldquo;You can find a community that fits you,&rdquo; says Cochrane. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s absolutely not a one-size-fits-all mentality.&rdquo;</p> <p>Visit thebegroup.org to find resources that will help you discover the culture, the people and the amenities that meet your lifestyle preferences and needs.</p> <h3>Why We Made the Move</h3> <p>In 2008, Al Mortenson and Mickey Jackson decided they wanted a<br />lifestyle with fewer worries. The husband-and-wife duo, ages 91 and 77, lived in a home in Southern California that seemed to require more and more upkeep. Though neither of them had serious health concerns at the time, they knew their 14-year age difference might mean one of them would need care sooner than the other. To spare their children from having to deal with their future care needs, the couple decided to move to Regents Point, a be.group senior living community in Irvine, California.<br />&ldquo;Even though we didn&rsquo;t move far from home, we discovered a world where&nbsp;there&rsquo;s so many great people we enjoy being with and activities we can do,&rdquo; says Jackson. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a much richer environment than we ever imagined.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mortenson and Jackson call on their former careers as educators to share<br />their love of the performing arts with fellow residents. Mortenson runs<br />a classical music appreciation program, and Jackson helps direct the<br />community&rsquo;s in-house resident theater group, the Footlighters, which<br />hosts performances several times a year. &ldquo;It allows us to be silly,&rdquo; Jackson<br />says. &ldquo;We have a grand time.&rdquo;</p> <p>Their family was initially unsure of their parents&rsquo; move to Regents Point<br />and the financial investment, but they quickly realized Mom and Dad<br />were doing this just as much for them as for themselves.</p> <p>&ldquo;Once we were settled in, and they visited us, they realized what a<br />wonderful gift we gave to them because they no longer have to worry,&rdquo;<br />Mortenson says.</p> <p>This guide is brought to you by be.group. As one of California&rsquo;s largest nonprofit providers of senior living communities, our well-trained team is dedicated to helping residents and clients discover new ways to embrace life&rsquo;s possibilities and new options for exploring their potential. Our vision begins and ends with the people we serve. We&rsquo;re here to help older adults be who they want to be: themselves. Learn more about be.group communities at thebegroup.org. Contact us at (818) 247-0420.</p>

Maybe you tend to their health needs, you work with them on a retirement portfolio or you are helping them sell a house. You work with seniors all the time, and you recognize when they need a bit more everyday assistance than they’re getting. But you’re not sure exactly what they need, or how to advise them to get it.

Download this guide to the benefits of senior living. It will help you educate yourself on the options, and you can print it out for your clients.

ORIGINAL PUBLICATION DATE: August 11, 2014
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