What to Expect When Transitioning to Senior Independent Living

1 year ago ·

What to Expect When Transitioning to Senior Independent Living

Moving into an Independent Living Community comes with a lot of perks, but it’s also a big change and, as with any major life change, it can be accompanied by its share of stress and worries.

Knowing some of what to expect ahead of time can be very helpful with coping with a new situation, so let’s discuss a few things that you can expect while transitioning to an Independent Living Community.

Be prepared for the move – Moving can be a hassle at any stage of life and, if you’re moving from a larger house, you will likely need to do a lot of downsizing. This can be a lot of work, so it’s best to give yourself plenty of time for packing and organizing your things. Be sure to enlist other people’s help, as you need it. That way, you can avoid a stressful rush to get everything sorted out at the last minute.

Some negative emotions are normal – It’s perfectly natural to feel a little sad about leaving behind your old house and neighborhood. Know that it’s okay for you to feel this way and be sure to give yourself the time you need to process your emotions. Everyone adjusts to change differently, so don’t be hard on yourself if it takes you some time to emotionally transition.

Have some fun setting up your new living space – Even if you’re experiencing some mixed emotions about the move, setting up a new home can be quite exciting. Try to have fun with the experience by decorating your new place and making it your own. This can also help you to feel more comfortable in your new environment.

Expect to see a lot of new faces – Once the unpacking is done with, be sure to introduce yourself to some of your neighbors. Independent Living Communities offer plenty of opportunities for socializing: you can dine with other residents in the communal dining area, get to know them during social events or just strike up a conversation as you’re going about your day in the community. You never know who could become a new close friend, so try not to be shy and get out there and socialize!

Enjoy community events – One of the benefits of Independent Living Communities are that they offer a wide variety of activities, so take the opportunity to try out different things and maybe even pick up a new hobby. Ask around to see what the other residents’ favourite social events are and plan to participate in the activities that sound the most enjoyable to you. These are also a great way to get to know your neighbors and form new connections, so be sure to get involved.

Carry on with your normal activities – Independent living means you maintain your freedom and can continue to live your life much the same as you did before, only now with a lot of mundane worries taken off your plate. You won’t have to be concerned about things like home maintenance or meal preparation anymore, and can instead focus on fully enjoying your retirement.

Even knowing what to expect, and about all of the benefits of senior independent living, you might still have some reservations about the change. If you’re feeling anxious or upset, reach out to your friends and family members and talk through some of your concerns. There’s no reason to dwell on your feelings alone.

Moving to an Independent Living Community can be the start of an exciting new chapter in your life. Instead of looking backward and focusing on the past, look forward to all the new experiences, new friendships and increased time for leisure that you’ll get to enjoy.

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How to Talk to Your Loved One about Their Senior Living Options

1 year ago ·

How to Talk to Your Loved One about Their Senior Living Options

Talking to your aging loved ones about their senior living options isn’t always an easy conversation to have. Your loved one might feel apprehensive about losing their freedoms, or they might have a great sense of attachment to their current home. They may even respond negatively to the suggestion that they require any kind of assistance at all. For these reasons, it might be tempting to avoid the conversation for as long as possible, but it’s important not to put it off. While it might be an uncomfortable topic, approaching the conversation in the right way could help your loved one get more out of their life and/or live more safely.

Here are a few tips to encourage the conversation.

  • Get other people involved.

If you have other close relatives who could help with the conversation, it’s best to make this a team effort and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Depending on your situation, it might also be a good idea to ask a third party to be involved, such as a doctor or family friend.

  • Be prepared.

Write down your observations and outline what your main points of concern are ahead of time. Are you worried that their home environment is no longer safe? Do they require assistance with certain tasks, like managing their medications? It also helps to do some research before sitting down to talk. Learning more about what options are available will help you get a better understanding of what might be the best fit for your loved one’s needs and allow you to convey that information with more confidence.

  • Avoid information overload.

After all that research you did earlier, it might be tempting to share all of the statistics and information that you’ve learned. However, you don’t want the person you’re talking with to feel overwhelmed. Share the basic information upfront and make sure you are being clear and to the point.

  • Make it a discussion.

This should be a true conversation, so don’t try to trivialize your loved one’s concerns or impose your will. Listen to their anxieties or objections and ask questions so that you can better understand where they’re coming from. The discussion is more likely to be productive if your loved one feels respected and listened to.

  • Don’t judge.

If your loved one starts getting defensive or disengages from the conversation, you might find yourself feeling frustrated. It’s important to try and put yourself in their shoes and to demonstrate empathy. The idea of loss of independence is very difficult for a lot of people to deal with, so try to be understanding.

 

  • Take your time.

Your loved one might need time to process things and to put their feelings into words. Try to give them the time they need, instead of rushing them. This might need to be a series of talks, so be prepared for coming to a decision to be process.

 

  • Arrange a visit to a community.

One of the best ways to alleviate your loved one’s concerns is seeing what the living conditions in a retirement community are actually like. An in-person or virtual tour can help both you and your loved one get a better understanding of the lifestyle, culture and amenities that a community has to offer.

One final point to keep in mind is that it is their decision. Unless your loved one is no longer capable of making decisions for themselves, the ultimate say in the matter is theirs. There are a lot of things that you can do to help them reach an informed decision (providing information, booking a tour, etc.), but remember that, at the end of the day, it’s their call.

While these tips can help you to prepare for discussing their living arrangements with your loved one, it will likely still be an emotional conversation, for everyone involved. Keep in mind, however, that the biggest hurdle is often broaching the topic the first time, and the earlier you get that out of the way, the better. You don’t want to put this discussion off until you reach the point where your loved one requires immediate help. Talking about what they want early will allow for less pressure, on both you and your loved one, and will make it easier for you to find the living arrangement that’s best for them together.

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The Benefits of Retirement Communities in Battling Senior Loneliness and Isolation

1 year ago ·

The Benefits of Retirement Communities in Battling Senior Loneliness and Isolation

Feelings of isolation are something that many of us have, unfortunately, had to deal with over the past year, and which many of us are still struggling with. We’ve been disconnected from our social circles. We haven’t been able to take part in the activities that used to bring us joy. We haven’t been experiencing those small conversations with people at work. All of these things take a toll. While these were all necessary sacrifices in order to keep people safe, they still left an impact, and some have felt it more than others.

One group that has been hit hard by the need for isolation protocols has been seniors, as they are a group that was already vulnerable to isolation and loneliness. Restrictions are starting to ease in some parts of the country, but isolation sadly remains a problem for many seniors. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this, such as shrinking social circles, loss of contact with colleagues, mobility issues or other health concerns. As things slowly start to return to normal, one thing we must try to remember is to not underestimate the damaging effects that isolation can have on a person’s mental health.

Our connections to other people (our friends and loved ones) are what helps make our lives feel rich and fulfilling. When we’re alone, it can quickly become hard to maintain a positive outlook. Isolation can easily lead to feelings of increased stress, anxiety, and depression. The lack of social support can also result in an increase in unhealthy habits, such as inactivity or excessive drinking. In some extreme cases, people might start to experience suicidal ideation. Loneliness is not something that should be ignored or trivialized – it’s a serious matter.

Isolation can be especially damaging to seniors, who can also experience cognitive decline, complications to existing health-conditions and other health risks. When there is no one around to notice that someone’s health is deteriorating, the worst outcomes become increasingly more likely. With an estimated one-third of seniors living alone, the effects of isolation on their health and well-being is becoming a topic of increasing concern.

So, what can we do to combat senior loneliness and isolation?

Being a part of a community can go a long way to help someone achieve that feeling of connectedness that is so important to maintaining good mental health. Humans are social beings and most of us crave a sense of belonging, of feeling valued and cared for. This is where living in a retirement community can provide a lot of benefits, particularly to someone who is living independently and doesn’t want to sacrifice their freedom, but still wants to foster meaningful relationships and be able to experience regular face-to-face interactions with others.

Retirement communities offer a wide number of opportunities for socializing and forming new friendships. There are group activities and classes, which can be a terrific way to meet new people, and communal dining areas, which are wonderful places for a casual chat. Memorable occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, are celebrated, ensuring that residents always have someone to share their special occasions with.

Having neighbors in the same age-range can be a huge benefit when it comes to forming new connections. Being surrounded by people who are at a similar place in their lives, and who may be experiencing similar challenges, can make it easier to open-up and build new friendships.

Just knowing that there are other people around you, who you can turn to when you are going through a tough time, or when you need some assistance, can be a huge relief and source of comfort. Having that community of people who care, and who will notice if something is wrong, goes a long way in helping a person to feel secure and valued.

For a long time, loneliness seemed to be something that people accepted as a normal part of aging. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it should be that this mindset is unacceptable. Mental health is just as important to one’s overall well-being as one’s physical health, and our need for socialization and community shouldn’t be ignored.

Independent living doesn’t need to mean living alone; find your community and ensure that you remain connected and happy, regardless of what stage of life you’re in!

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What does residential assisted-living care look like?

2 years ago ·

What does residential assisted-living care look like?

Residential care homes offer a smaller, more home-like family setting for seniors.  These care homes are typically located in traditional homes and neighborhoods and provide care for fewer residents than assisted living communities. Service offerings include food services and assistance with daily living, part-time medical professional care is offered.  This live-in housing and care option is great for people who do not have skilled medical needs, such as a feeding tube or daily injections and a great option for individuals who are looking for a smaller-home-like setting.

There are seniors that enjoy the benefits of living in a home shared with other seniors. They have their own rooms, and occasionally bathrooms, but share common areas such as family room and dining room. The company of other seniors, especially when they have shared interests and experiences eliminates the typical feelings of loneliness and isolation experienced when living alone.

If you have ever watched an episode of the Golden Girls or seen the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, you will understand the warm, loving, and supportive environment that residential assisted-living can offer. When you transition to this type of environment, it is a less traumatic event as you feel that you are just moving from one comforting home to another without the added stress of having to worry about meal planning, upkeeping and home maintenance and still can continue to live with the choices you had before.

Want to learn more about residential senior living?  Call us today 519-534-5878 or Request your Information Package Today!

Image Credit: Golden Girls/Facebook

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Currently Aging in Place?  Learn about an Alternative to Traditional Retirement Senior Living

2 years ago ·

Currently Aging in Place? Learn about an Alternative to Traditional Retirement Senior Living

Many Canadians want to age in place in their own home or community, they wish to live at home for as long as possible.  Seniors much prefer aging in place compared to facility care, but sometimes physical or cognitive decline makes it difficult to live independently.  The decision to age in place allows seniors to enjoy a sense of independence and comfort that only home can provide.  They also enjoy better health outcomes on average, despite lower care costs.

However, the choice to age in place isn’t always as simple as it may seem.  While staying at home has some obvious advantages, there are also several disadvantages, the biggest one being feelings of loneliness and isolation.  Even with friendly neighbors and family nearby, older adults that live alone often succumb to feeling lonely and socially isolated.

As an aging senior, even if you have made the decision to age in place, it is important to start planning so you are prepared to respond to changes that may occur as you age; such as changes in your health, mobility or social connections. It is also important to consider the unexpected, such as a sudden onset of chronic illness, development of a disability or a change in resources.

Families often presume that traditional retirement homes or institutional care are the only alternatives to living independently in your own home.  However, there are plenty of alternatives to traditional retirement communities or assisted-living facilities.  One of these options is often referred to as “micro-communities”, “residential assisted-living care”, “board and care homes” or “smaller-scale assisted living”.

These communities are known as “homelike residential/assisted living care”, as the name suggests, these are small communities that are great for the senior who wish to avoid a larger, institutional, crowded assisted living facility.

The phrase “assisted living” typically conjures up images of a sterile, hospital-like environment, but there are newer options for seniors who want a high level of care in a warmer, more home-like atmosphere. This unique senior living model means more interaction between staff members and residents in a relaxed environment.

Interested in learning more about residential senior living?  Call us today 519-534-5878 or Request your Information Package Today!

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