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Communities for Older Adults: What does the future hold?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

 What do older adults want?  Most express the desire to stay in their own home as long as possible.  We all dream of staying independent the rest of our life and not becoming a burden for our kids.  We see portrayals in the media and we may know of mature couples living rich and fulfilling lives, staying in their own home, traveling and enjoying their retirement years; but the reality for many older adults is not so ideal.  The family home eventually becomes a burden, and the reality of aging in America is poor health and chronic diseases often rob individuals of their independence - too soon.  Often children our required to get involved, assist with care and make decisions.  Too often mature adults encounters with loneliness, chronic illness, and depression make the retirement years less fulfilling.
What is the answer?  Make the necessary lifestyle changes and make a plan for the future!
Lifestyle Changes
Everyone should read the book, Younger Next Year, by Henry Lodge, MD and Chris Crowley.  The book vividly describes the path to obtaining the best possible, most independent future.  The answers are simple; but almost foreign to our modern, American culture.  They include improved nutrition, regular, seven day a week exercise and involvement in activities for which you have a passion.  All three required dedication and discipline to achieve.
Lifestyle changes leads to living longer and more fulfilling lives.  Little things could make a big difference.  A walk to the store and back is far better than driving the car and watching TV.  Passing on processed foods as well as large portions and desserts  make a huge difference in nutrition.  The earlier you being to make the changes, the longer and more independent life you are likely to lead.
Planning for the Future
Planning for the future obviously involves financial planning first and foremost; the aforementioned lifestyle changes are just as important.  The third big planning decision is where you plan to live during your mature years.  There really are six main choices:


Stay in your own home


Downsize to a senior friendly home in a traditional neighborhood.


55+ Community


Rental Retirement Community


Continuing Care Retirement Community


Move in with your kids.

Move in with your kids
Let's tackle this option first.  While added to the list sort of tongue-in-cheek, this option has a lot of merits and is the traditional solution; but not the first choice for many parents...or children.  If it is an option for you, then it is a great option to explore, especially if the adult children have nursing or care-giving experience and can assist with your needs when the time comes.

Stay in your own home
If you eat well, exercise and stay active mentally then living in your current home is an option…for awhile.  Are there stairs?  They will become a problem.  Are your bathrooms designed for aging need?  Where is the washer and dryer located?  When you can no longer drive, how will you shop?  Besides the TV, what will be your source of cultural and community activities.  For most older adults the family home becomes solitary confinement in later years.  Other issues to consider:  Home Care will be very expensive.  When you need a nursing home, where will you go?
Downsize to a senior friendly home in a traditional neighborhood.
If you improve your nutrition, exercise and stay active mentally then this option will work …for awhile longer... Assuming the design issues are addressed (single floor living, convenient laundry, and safe bathroom design), this is an improvement.  The same two issues will remain:
Home Care will be very expensive.  When you need a nursing home, where will you go?
55+ Community
The third option is a 55* community.  All the benefits of a well designed home in a community focused on seniors.  Theoretically, the senior focused community will provide you with more activities and community interaction; but in most cases, there are very few planned activities.
If the home designs are good, then this is a viable short-term option.  Yet, home care will be very expensive and when you need a nursing home, where will you go? 
Rental Retirement Community
This option has become popular recently; and looks very similar to a full service retirement community.  One would expect well designed apartments or cottages and a focus on providing for the needs and concerns of mature adults.  Most rental communities do not generate the revenue to provide the full range of services, or to provide them with the depth and quality that residents desire.  Often they do not offer the full range of health care from independent living to personal care to memory support care to nursing care and home care.  Thus, a rental community is a viable short-term option.  It features lower costs in the short run, and very little commitment.  The same concerns remain.  Home Care will be very expensive.  When you need a nursing home, where will you go?
Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
This is truly the best option if you have the financial ability to afford a full service retirement community.  They offer all the benefits of a well designed home in a community focused on seniors.  With their charitable, non-profit, mission-focused care, commitment to charity, history of serving thousands of older adults, extensive life enrichment and activity programs, full service dining options and spiritual services, a CCRC truly meets all of the needs of today’s seniors.  This holistic, all-encompassing approach gives seniors their best opportunity to stay independent and enjoy their life with less worry and more enjoyment.  Most CCRCs offer Home Care

services to help you stay in your own home longer.  Most offer personal care services to care for your needs when they arise.  Most offer memory support services if you or loved on develop memory issues.  Most offer a quality, state of the art nursing home where you will be well served when the time comes.  A continuing care retirement community is your best choice!

Homestead Village is an accredited CCRC
We offer a wide range of independent living, from studio apartments to a three bedroom, three bath, two car garage villa and everything in between at a wide range of price points!
We offer personal care -  in our apartments – Aging in place.
We offer home care services which are available in cottages and villas.
We offer memory support care which is available in apartments, Gelhard House and our nursing care.  Gelhard House is a wonderful, secure memory support environment offering the best of care for residents with memory support needs.

We offer quality, person-centered nursing care that is available when you need it!
We offer a great dining program which many tasty options to help you eat nutritiously.

In effect we offer the ingredients to allow you to live the ideal life of good health, independence, dignity and fulfillment.