Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: What’s the Difference?

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In the exploration of senior living options, it can be hard to compare independent living versus assisted living or determine whether you or your loved one requires memory care. It’s important to be aware of the difference between independent living and assisted living in order to make your transition more seamless.

Independent Living
For seniors who are looking for a retirement community, or would still like to live on their own but among people their own age, independent living versus assisted living is the way to go. If you are still able to care for yourself, independent living allows for the freedom and flexibility to do whatever you like, with a few added perks to make life hassle-free and enjoyable.

At Senior Lifestyle, the experience of senior independent living includes a well-trained and dedicated staff providing the highest standards of hospitality services. Many of our residents began the process of transitioning to our communities by asking why you would want to move into an independent senior living community in the first place. Having someone on hand in case of emergencies can provide peace of mind, even if you don’t end up needing it. In addition, you have the freedom to do what makes you happy while living in a private studio, a one-bedroom apartment or a two-bedroom apartment.

Assisted Living

When looking at the difference between independent living and assisted living, one big difference is clear: assisted living honors your independence while providing an added level of care, service and security personal to you. This added level of care may including help with bathing, dressing, medication assistance and more as needed.

Assisted living communities from Senior Lifestyle offer a range of social and active lifestyle opportunities. Residents can decide how they’d like to spend their time every day, with activities supported by licensed nurses and aids who are available 24 hours a day. Though you’ll have help with everyday tasks, you’ll also have the freedom and support to socialize and pursue your interests just as you always have.

Memory Care
For residents and their families dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s or similar forms of dementia, Senior Lifestyle provides memory care neighborhoods. These neighborhoods go beyond simply independent or assisted living and provide a balance between safety and engagement to suit the lifestyles of our memory care residents. We strive to make our memory care neighborhoods supportive and comfortable, so that you can rest easy knowing that your loved one is safe but not confined or kept from enjoying their favorite activities.

In addition to stimulating and engaging life enrichment programs, Senior Lifestyle offers a variety of services and amenities to all of our residents regardless of level of care. Whether you’re looking at independent living versus assisted living or even if you’re seeking memory care for your loved one, Senior Lifestyle can provide a level of support to help you live out your best life.

Who Are Senior Living Advisors?

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When considering senior living arrangements for yourself or your loved ones, whether you’re looking into independent living, assisted living or memory care, getting help from senior living advisors can be incredibly beneficial. These advisors have the knowledge and expertise to help you or your elderly loved ones transition into senior care. So who exactly are senior living advisors?

Senior living advisors are experts in senior care arrangements. Not only can they provide objective advice on the best level of care for you or your loved ones, but they can also save you a huge amount of time. Instead of visiting senior communities and sifting through all the information by yourself, senior living advisors can provide you with a list of options and amenities to help you make your choice.

Senior living advisors are also experts local to the community where you’re looking to live. They can provide you with a wealth of knowledge regarding the ins and outs of relocating to a new community, and they will provide you with all of the options within the area.

In general, senior living advisors will take the time to get to know you and your family so that you can make the best decision. If you are feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices and want to remove some of the stress of the situation or if you are simply seeking someone who is more informed on senior care, using a senior care advisor will benefit your entire family.

At Senior Lifestyle, we have senior living advisors at each community who are trained to be a resource to you and your loved ones throughout the transition into senior care. For more advice on looking into senior living, be sure to visit the Senior Lifestyle website and explore our resources.

What Makes Senior Living and Retirement Apartments Special?

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In a sense, a senior living apartment is like any other apartment: a place to live, a place to recharge, a place to entertain, a place to call your own. But at Senior Lifestyle, our retirement apartments are vibrant and full of life.

Each of Senor Lifestyle’s 170-plus communities are run independently, so features and amenities differ from place to place, but most of our senior living apartment communities include a variety of services in the base rental rate, such as restaurant-style meals, therapy services, check-up procedures and routine housekeeping services. The majority of our communities are for ages 62 and above , so you’ll be surrounded by neighbors with similar interests.

If those interests involve reading, watching movies, playing pool, playing games or exercising, you’re also in luck. Our senior living apartments also feature a variety of recreation rooms, including libraries, movie theaters, billiards rooms, business centers, gaming lounges, fitness clubs and hospitality suites. We also have in-house life enrichment programs , ranging from gardening to acting to happy hours.

At Senior Lifestyle, our family-first philosophy puts the well-being of our residents and their families at the forefront of everything we do. We know the unnerving feeling that can accompany the decision to uproot and move to a new home. It can feel like you’re leaving behind a part of yourself and the memories that have been built throughout years. But a new home also represents new beginnings and the chance to create new memories and friendships. Senior Lifestyle is always here to help you and your family in any way we can.

Residents at our senior living apartments pay monthly rates based on apartment type. Most locations offer three basic floor plans: private studios, one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments. Check retirement communities near you for availability. The features included in our rates are a significant reason Senior Lifestyle’s senior living apartments is set apart from traditional senior housing and retirement apartments; we try to provide all the familiar comforts of home and then some.

Anything we don’t offer on the premises of our retirement apartments can be reached through our transportation to local shopping centers and attractions. And if you ever want to play host, while still offering your visitors a little space of their own, we also have guest apartments that can be reserved.

We hope we’ve given you a sense of what our lively and spirited senior living communities are all about. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Senior Lifestyle team for any more information .

How Old Do You Have to Be for Senior Housing?

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At Senior Lifestyle, our goal is to act as a resource for those learning more about senior housing, particularly concerning areas of the industry less familiar to our residents and their families. Today we’re taking a closer look at one aspect of a topic we often hear questions about from families and residents: legal age requirements for senior housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA), the 1995 legislation that governs senior housing and 55-and-over communities, addresses key aspects of the rules surrounding senior housing economics. Outside of HUD senior housing rules, there are a lot of additional questions about age requirements for senior housing, but determining the economics of living in a Senior Lifestyle 55-and-over community doesn’t have to be one of them.

HOPA was designed to provide affordable housing and safe living arrangements for qualified senior citizens. It is technically an age exception to the Fair Housing Act, which protects people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap or familial status.

When it comes to the communities themselves, HOPA has three primary provisions. The first provides for places that provide general assistance to elderly persons. The other two deal with specifics about age. The first age-specific rule is simple: A community must be solely inhabited by persons 62 years of age or older. The other regulates 55-and-over communities and is a little more complicated.

In order for 55-and-over communities to qualify for HUD senior housing support, they must satisfy three additional requirements. First, at least 80 percent of the units must have one occupant who is older than 55. Second, the community must publish policies and demonstrate its intention to be a 55-and-over community. Finally, the community must verify the ages of its residents to remain eligible.

All of this is handled by Senior Lifestyle communities, so you can focus on making the best living decision for you or your loved one. While each of Senior Lifestyle’s lively 170-plus communities are operated independently of one another, all are bound by HUD senior housing rules. The majority of Senior Lifestyle communities are limited to 62-year-olds, but you can check for senior housing in your area for specific details.

If you think becoming a Senior Lifestyle resident is right for you or your loved one, we also encourage you to check out our Senior Lifestyle’s Senior Suites program. Nationally recognized as a leading prototype for affordable senior housing, Senior Suites distinguishes itself from traditional affordable housing options by offering daily residential programming, weekly transportation services, diverse dining options and daily check-in programs.

To learn more about our vibrant senior housing options, check out our elder care services. You can also check out our financial planning calculator to see which senior caring options are right for you. Whatever you’re considering, you can be sure that Senior Lifestyle is here to help and happy to assist you and your family.

Planning for and Navigating a Senior Move

Posted by in Expert Advice, Programs.

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The transition into senior living can be a daunting prospect. These senior moves can take both a physical and mental toll on both the moving senior and their support system. Often times, elderly individuals are leaving behind a home with dozens of emotional attachments associated with it. At Senior Lifestyle, we are acutely aware of what a stressful time this can be. To help you through this period, Senior Lifestyle has put together a guide to help both moving seniors and their loved ones.

The decision to undertake a senior move into a Senior Lifestyle community can mean a lot of change, and it’s normal to have some anxiety around that. For that reason, we offer the “Be Our Guest” program, which allows potential residents the chance to “test drive” the lifestyle and our facilities. While staying in a furnished guest apartment, you will be afforded a chance to meet our residents and staff as you participate in all of our programs and events.

If you decide that Senior Lifestyle is right for you, there are several steps you can take to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Stay Open
Staying open to all of the possibilities in front of you is imperative. A sense of excitement and adventure helps mitigate the stress you will inevitably encounter in your senior move.

This is also important to keep in mind if you are in the support network of a moving senior and are helping with the transition. While the benefits of a senior’s transition may seem obvious to you, you will need to remain receptive to the emotional gravity that can come with this great change.

Moving with Grace
It helps to have familiarity around you when going through any kind of transition. Rather than “starting over” with all new furniture or décor, many of our residents find some comfort in bringing a piece of their old home to their new home. Once you can determine the floorplan of your new living space, you can decide which items to bring with for your senior move.

Loved ones can help greatly in this process as well. Don’t just provide your moving senior with guidelines on what to bring or leave. Actively participate in the selection process if you can; talking things through with your moving loved one can be a great help.

Engage
Senior Lifestyle communities offer a number of activities for our residents. We provide numerous ways for the moving senior to fully embrace their new home and community. Integration is key in a successful transition.

Similarly, we always encourage our residents’ loved ones to come by for visit. However, we also recommend support networks remain sensitive to seniors’ need for independence. Holding hands with a moving senior can be a great comfort, but be sure to allow them the space they need to grow and fully participate in their new community.

No matter which of our six different lifestyle options you or your loved one chooses, a senior move requires patience and adjustment. But if you keep in mind these helpful tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying everything Senior Lifestyle has to offer you.

Detecting Alzheimer’s Symptoms & Stages

Posted by in Expert Advice, Food and Nutrition, Health and Fitness, Mind and Spirit, Research.

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Alzheimer’s disease, a syndrome that affects the brain and cognitive function, can be a challenging disease to learn about, particularly when considering the devastating effects this disease can have on all those it touches. But knowing Alzheimer’s symptoms and Alzheimer’s stages can help prepare you in case someone you love receives this diagnosis or begins to show signs of Alzheimer’s.

Consider this: The Alzheimer’s Association – the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research – estimates that 5.4 million Americans have the disease. Of those afflicted, 96 percent are older than 65. Taken as a whole, dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in America, killing more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Those are frightening numbers that are only expected to grow.

Senior Lifestyle has developed award-winning programs and care to help cope with the effects of the disease. Senior Lifestyle’s memory care and Alzheimer’s care specialists work directly with staff, residents, and their families to ensure residents receive the comprehensive care and attention they deserve.

But the first step is identifying the diseases stages, symptoms and warning signs.

3 Stages of Alzheimer’s
Detecting the progression of Alzhiemer’s can be challenging because the disease affects everyone differently and there is much overlap between Alzheimer’s stages. Generally, experts divide Alzheimer’s into three stages.
1. Mild or Early Stage: Usually lasts 2-4 years; often undetectable, but characterized by frequent memory loss, especially of recent interactions and experiences, losing track of time and becoming lost in formerly familiar locations.
2. Moderate or Middle Stage: Lasts anywhere between 2-10 years; cognitive decline is easily observed; memory continues to decline and family may become less identifiable; memory, reasoning and basic motor skills continues to get worse; mood swings, delusions, aggression and uninhibited behavior may occur.
3. Severe or Late Stage: Usually last 1-3 years; individuals are unable to care for themselves for the most part as symptoms continue to devolve; Basic verbal communication and motor skills are extremely hindered.

10 Alzheimer’s Warning Signs

1. Memory loss that affects daily life
2. Inability to follow directions or solve simple problems.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4. Becoming disoriented about space and time
5. Trouble with depth perception, colors or reading
6. Problems expressing thoughts in conversation
7. Misplacing things or putting possessions in nonsensical places
8. Poor judgment with money, clothing or grooming
9. Withdrawal from friends and social network
10. Mood swings

Unfortunately, there is no way to totally prevent or cure Alzheimer’s, but research and medicine continue to progress. By recognizing Alzheimer’s symptoms and identifying Alzheimer’s stages, you or your loved ones can start memory care treatment that can temporarily slow signs of the disease and improve quality of life for those afflicted and for their families.

Choosing a Retirement Home: How to Choose a Retirement Community for Yourself or a Loved One

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When choosing a retirement home (or any other kind of senior living arrangement), it’s often too easy to feel overwhelmed. With so many options available and with so many factors to consider, our goal is to help you find a starting place so you can learn how to choose a retirement community or other senior care community for yourself or for your loved one.

Your first step is to consider the type of community you or your loved one needs: are you choosing a retirement home with independent living, an assisted living facility or memory care services? Senior Lifestyle offers all three of these lifestyle options. Browse our options for independent living, assisted living and memory care to help you learn how to choose the right retirement community for you. Each category of community provides a variety of amenities, activities, and services to help you ease into new surroundings.

The next aspect you should consider when deciding a retirement community or other senior care community is location. Are you looking to live close to the rest of your family, or would you prefer to be in a new part of the country? With over 100 different locations, you’ll be sure to find a Senior Lifestyle community that suits all of your needs. Whether you are looking to live in the hot and dry southwest, the sunny northeast or anywhere in-between, we have a location that will give you what you’re searching for.

Finally, choosing a retirement home or other elder care facility means finding the one with the best opportunities for a holistic and enriching resident experience. At Senior Lifestyle, we believe in a culture of care, where everyone on our staff values the importance of serving and caring for others. Additionally, the life enrichment programming we offer allows our residents to follow their passions and explore their interests.

From gardening, new hobbies with technology, or dreams of learning to paint, our communities offer a wide variety of programs to help you or your loved one pursue their passion.

To get started on your journey for choosing a retirement home or senior care options, visit the Senior Lifestyle website. You’ll find plenty of resources to help you choose the right senior care community.

Independent Living & Assisted Living Services

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Across the country, Senior Lifestyle communities offer six different senior living and care options : independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, affordable senior housing, and short term care. While each community is unique and has its own personality, they all provide residents with a variety of assisted living services.

From fun health and fitness programs to creative senior activities and life enrichment programs , Senior Lifestyle provides all residents the opportunities they need to continue living independent lives while connecting with one another. Please feel free to take the time to look at a few of the independent and assisted living services available at our communities.

Delicious Dining
Eating is an important and delicious part of everyone’s day. At any one of our communities, we make sure your daily dining experience is comfortable and nutritious. Dining experiences are included as a part of our independent living services. Our executive chefs and professionally trained staff members create dining experiences in restaurant-style environments. And not only do they prepare meals for residents, they extend their service to the whole family when they want to visit. Our dining teams often amend menus to accommodate our residents’ favorite dishes for a home-cooked meal in their new home.

If residents enjoy cooking themselves, Senior Lifestyle’s assisted living services offer opportunities to compete in cooking competitions or learn new recipes and kitchen tricks at our cooking demonstrations.

Life, Fun and the Pursuit of Your Passions
At our independent living and assisted living communities, residents keep busy with recreational, leisure, and creative activities. Residents can express their artistic talents by painting and drawing, singing in a choir, or performing musical numbers for their fellow residents and community members. Residents can even perform or watch shows put on by their peers.

Beyond creative activities, assisted living and independent living services staff host regular Wii bowling competitions – residents are also welcome to play Wii sports at their own leisure. In addition to playing the Wii, residents can spend their spare time in our spacious recreation rooms available at many of our communities: the library, movie theatre, billiards room, business center, gaming lounge, and fitness center.

Healthy Body, Fit Mind, and Happy Spirit
Senior care services – such as our 24-hour emergency call system, up-and-about checks, and fitness classes – help keep residents healthy. Our award-winning Brain Health University program fosters personal mental growth and enhances memory function. Our community gardens also allow residents opportunities for self-reflection while they relax outdoors.

Social Connection
Fitness classes, leisure activities, and happy hours allow residents the opportunity to mingle and connect with one another. Senior Lifestyle offers transportation to local shopping centers, physicians’ offices, and local attractions, as well as planned outings to museums, theaters, restaurants, and more to help residents stay connected with the community. We also have a program called “Senior Sidekicks” that lets residents interact with local students.

… And More!
Our dedicated professional staff members don’t only provide fun and social independent living services, but they also provide residents with supportive living services, such as housekeeping and laundry services, as well as on-site beauty salons and barber shops. In our assisted living communities, bathing, dressing and medication assistance is available as needed.

Here at Senior Lifestyle, it is our pleasure to serve you and your family with attention, care and compassion. Looking for more information about Senior Lifestyle senior care services, independent living services, or assisted living services? Contact us today.

Assisted Living Costs: How to Afford & Plan for Long-Term Senior Care

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Some of the most frequently asked questions related to senior care revolve around the financial elements; our residents and families begin the decision-making process often unsure about assisted living costs and how to manage the costs of assisted living over the long haul.

We offer a list of financial resources on Senior Lifestyle’s website and this blog post, where we include resources to help clarify any questions you may have about assisted living costs while providing a few additional tips on long-term financial planning.

Just as every resident is different, we recognize that each financial situation is unique; there simply is no one-size-fits-all cost calculator. With that in mind, we have created a comparison calculator tool to help you figure out how assisted living costs associated with living in one of our communities would affect your bottom line. While this tool cannot provide an exact price, many of our families have found it to be a fantastic guideline for planning and budgeting purposes.

If you require more detailed assistance, or are curious about your particular situation, our solutions experts are happy to help. Just check for one of our communities in your area or contact a Senior Lifestyle community adviser online. In addition, Senior Lifestyle has partnered with Elderlife Financial, a company that helps families craft financial plans suited to their individual needs. Our corporate partner is recognized as “the nation’s leading senior financing and solutions company [for] … home care, downsizing, senior housing and payment needs.”

Senior Lifestyle has also partnered with Life Care Funding, a company that aids in the process of using life insurance policies to defray the cost of assisted living. Keep in mind that there is no fee or obligation associated with applying for this helpful and unique service.

The government is another great resource for assisting families with the cost of moving into a retirement community. The Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to provide assistance, and we always suggest checking the IRS’s guide on medical expenses.

We also have many residents who find companionship to be the best way to support assisted living costs. Living with a roommate can help cover costs, and many of our residents have become friends for life by sharing their daily routines. Senior Lifestyle can help match you or your loved one with another resident based on compatible interests, backgrounds, and personalities.

The decision of transitioning into a new home is multifaceted, and our goal at Senior Lifestyle is to assist in that process by providing as many resources as possible to help you prepare and to ease any financial burdens. We also invite you to reach out if you have specific questions about the cost of assisted living.

Senior Care Services & Assisted Living Levels of Care

Posted by in Expert Advice, Programs.

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Whether you or a loved one are considering moving into a senior living facility, it’s a complicated decision accompanied by plenty of questions: What senior care services do facilities provide? What senior care services are right for my situation? What assisted living levels of care can I expect?

Our mission is to provide you with the resources you need to decide which senior care services and levels of care are right for you, regardless of whether or not you decide to join Senior Lifestyle’s nationwide network of family owned senior communities.

Senior Lifestyle classifies its levels of care under six different options for senior care services: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, Affordable Housing, and Short-Term Care.

Independent Living
Independent Living services offer residents the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. Our dedicated staff work to accommodate their residents’ unique needs. Independent Living is meant to combine the familiar comforts of home with the excitement of new experiences, and then some. After settling into a Senior Lifestyle Community, our residents often wonder why they did not make the decision to move sooner.

Assisted Living
The Assisted Living plans at Senior Lifestyle add another layer of service to our Independent Living program. Our Assisted Living Services are designed for residents who value their independence but could still use a hand with everyday activities. Senior Lifestyle’s trained staff is available to help with every need; our team can assist with bathing, with dressing, and with medication. Residents in the Assisted Living program all meet with a licensed nurse to create a personalized service plan so we can support them as they continue to pursue their passions.

Memory Care
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia take a heavy toll on those battling the devastating disease and their loved ones, but Senior Lifestyle has dedicated specialists that work with residents, their families, and staff to ensure care is comprehensive and tailored to the individual. Residents who benefit from our memory care services live in communities specifically designed to strike a balance between safety and engagement in common areas and exterior courtyards.

Skilled Nursing
Most Senior Lifestyle communities are equipped to offer senior care services and levels of care to fit a wide range of needs. Our staff members care for residents that need post-surgical rehab, wound care, cognitive and pain management, and general practitioners services. Please call your local community or visit the skilled nursing page on our website for a complete list of services.

Affordable Housing
The Senior Suites program is a nationally recognized prototype for affordable senior housing. The communities are designed for independent, older adults. Unlike traditional programs, our affordable housing offers daily programs, transportation services, a la carte dining and daily check-in programs. The program is made possible by private donations and a combination of municipal, state, and federal funding. Please visit our website to see if you or a loved one is eligible to receive these services.

Short Term Care
Designed for those wishing to give our communities a try without a more long-term commitment, short-term senior care services are perfect for introducing someone to the Senior Lifestyle community, temporary rehabilitation assistance, or to lend a hand if a regular caregiver is unavailable. We also offer trial stays to test if long-term care is right for you or your loved one. The guest program is an immersive experience that allows people to get a feel for Senior Lifestyle’s level of care.

Every community has its own unique identity, but each level of care, even at the base rate, typically supplements a variety of amenities, some of which include a delicious dining experience, stimulating and engaging life enrichment programs, optional routine laundry and housekeeping services, transportation service to local attractions and physicians, and so much more.

No matter what level of care you or your loved one requires, Senior Lifestyle is here to welcome you and your family home. Visit our website or stop by your local Senior Lifestyle community to get more information.