Regency Charlotte Blog
Retirement Communities

Retirement Communities (9)

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 20:15

Key to Happiness? Assisted Living!

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Everyone seeks the key to personal happiness throughout their life in a variety of places and in a variety of ways. Some think that happiness can be found by having more money, the perfect job, the perfect family, or through a laundry list of other ways.

While we all have been endlessly seeking the key to a happier life, Harvard University may have found it. In 1938, Harvard began a study that tracked 724 men of various socioeconomic backgrounds living in Boston. Every man was initially interviewed and medically evaluated, through blood work and brain exams, and this process has been repeated every two years. Most living participants and now well into their 90s, and Harvard now has an extensive amount of research to base their findings on.

So, what did they find during the 75 years of research? According to Robert Waldinger, Harvard professor and the fourth director of the study, the key to happiness is actually much easier to obtain than we believe. Good relationships with family, friends, and spouses are the biggest factor that lead to a happy life. seniors eating

People who were physically healthy and also maintained strong relationships were found to be mentally and physically healthier in the long-term. In comparison, those who had health issues and did not foster social bonds felt more isolated, melancholy and unfulfilled later in life. 

It can be challenging for people to make new friends at any age, but many people also take for granted that they have a built-in social network beginning when they enter school. Once school is completed, a career offers a new social pool and new ways to connect with people. But, what happens after retirement when those social circles essentially disappear?

This is where Assisted Living Communities, like Regency at Pineville, play an important role. Not only does moving into a senior living community help eliminate feelings of solitude and isolation, but it also keep seniors actively engaged – both mentally and physically.

Regency at Pineville’s structured environment offers a healthy balance between maintaining each person’s privacy and independence, and fostering new social connections. The latter is accomplished through monthly planned group outings and physical activities. Additionally, residents have the chance to join together for meals, games, movies, and worship.

While the idea of moving to a new place may seem daunting, the majority of residents discover a genuine sense of belonging after only a few weeks. Even people who would normally consider themselves to be shy may find that they are able to socially spread their wings for the first time, by connecting with other residents who become like family.

Cultivating and maintaining these strong social bonds after retirement, while also staying physically active, plays a very important role in protecting long-term physical and mental health, according to Harvard’s research. Assisted living can play an equally vital role in providing these keys to happiness to each resident.

Regency at Pineville offers a range of services, from Assisted Living to Memory Care, in order to fit the needs of each individual resident. To learn more about Regency at Pineville, call us at (844) 425-4254. 

Written by Kristen Camden

Friday, 29 July 2016 14:51

Does Your Loved One Need Assisted Living?

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There are more than 15 million Americans who devote their time and energy to caring for aging loved ones who can no longer independently care for themselves. Many times, these families and caregivers stretch themselves too thin and risk their own health in order to keep their loved one at home, where they feel the most comfortable. At this point, it may be time to evaluate whether moving them into an Assisted Living community, such as Regency at Pineville, is in the best interest of everyone involved.

There are some very telling signs that can help families and caregivers recognize when the time has come to openly discuss moving a loved one into an Assisted Living community. daughter talking to mother

  1. Care Needs Escalate
    -More help is needed with housework, yard maintenance, repairs and cooking. Family spends more time taking care of these chores than making lasting memories with their loved one.
  2. Memory Issues Worsen
    -A senior can no longer remember when to take medication or how to perform familiar tasks.
  3. Seclusion Occurs
    -When a senior only has human interaction with relatives, a caregiver, or an occasional friend that may stop by to visit.
  4. Fears Develop
    -When a senior fears being alone in their own home.
  5. Driving Ceases
    -Driving becomes a dependency, for appointments and even shopping.
  6. Safety Issues
    -The home is no longer a safe place, due to risks associated with trips, falls, etc.
  7. Caregiver Stress
    -When the primary caregiver puts their health at risk, causing stress and illness.

Broaching this topic often times creates a large amount of conflict between a senior and their family. Facing such a huge life-changing situation can be very scary for a senior, and he or she may become adamant about not leaving their home that contains comfort and sentimental attachments.

However, the conversation does not necessarily have to be negative. According to experts, the best way to approach this topic is with open and honest communication, where both the family and their loved one are able to express concerns and listen to feedback. It is also best to offer a senior options, as opposed to dictating when and what will happen.

Shopping around for the right fit will help an aging parent gauge what they want and need, such as location, services and amenities offered. Visiting communities is also an important part of the process, and can help alleviate any misconceptions that a loved one has about Assisted Living facilities. Many times, people envision a sterile, hospital-like setting which is actually more closely associated with nursing homes that are focused on skilled medical care.

Regency at Pineville’s Assisted Living Community has more of a “family” atmosphere – each senior has their own apartment, and receives help with housekeeping, laundry, and remembering to take medications. They can come and go freely, have delicious meals in a social dining environment and participate in planned activities. This is the reason that many residents say, “I wish I had done this years ago.”

Regency at Pineville offers a range of services, from Assisted Living to Memory Care, in order to fit the needs of each individual resident. To learn more about Regency at Pineville, call us at (844) 425-4254. 

Written by Kristen Camden

Wednesday, 29 June 2016 15:04

Saving for Retirement: Dos and Don’ts

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The American workforce landscape began to change in the 1980’s and 1990’s with the introduction of the portable 401(k). Prior to that time, many people worked for the same company for 30 years or more and received a pension when they retired. While retirement pensions provided a sense of security, they did not provide opportunity for people to change jobs and take that “security” with them.

Since that time, the importance of saving for retirement has been engrained into the minds of most Americans. One reason is because the average US life expectancy has increased to 81.2 years for women and 76.4 years for men, making time a liability.

But how is a person with financial responsibilities related to mortgages, bills, credit card debt, and children supposed to also save for retirement? And how do those affected by the 2008 and 2009 housing crisis counteract their losses as well as save?

Here is a list of dos and don’ts that experts suggest, in order to stretch money during retirement years. Following these tips will help in the future so that affording to live in an Assisted Living community, like Regency at Pineville, is a viable option.retirement savings

DO:

-Start contributing to a 401(k) plan immediately upon entering the workforce

-Take advantage of compounding interest

-Pay more than the minimum monthly payment on credit cards to avoid paying excessive interest

-Pay off credit cards with highest interest rate first

-Consolidate credit card debt to get a fixed monthly payment with a lower rate

-Be disciplined about spending and sacrifice small luxuries

-Continue to work after retiring, to supplement savings

-Consult a “fiduciary” who is legally obligated to provide financial advice in your best interest

-Live a healthy and active life to avoid additional medical costs

-Save more money than needed for retirement, in case unexpected medical costs or job loss occur

-Obtain Long-Term Care Insurance to pay for costs not covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid

-Stay open-minded and flexible about selling homes, getting reverse mortgages, or living with a companion, when the time comes to consider ways to finance care

DON’T:

-Become a victim of time during years leading up to retirement, by not saving

-Abuse credit cards and fall into unnecessary debt

-Spend money just because it is “burning a hole” in your pocket

-Expect Social Security to cover your retirement years

Being disciplined is imperative in order to save enough money for retirement. Most people want to travel, stay self-sufficient, leave something for their children to inherit, and not become a burden on loved ones in the senior years. The way to do this is not by procrastinating, but by careful planning and continual saving.

The September 2015 and February 2016 blogs gave advice on ways to pay for assisted living, and ways to enjoy retirement on a budget. Reading these blogs again will give greater detail on the recommended actions given in this blog. By following these steps, seniors can help pay for care in an Assisted Living Community like Regency at Pineville, when the times comes for needed assistance with basic personal tasks of everyday life.

Regency at Pineville offers a range of services, from Assisted Living to Memory Care, in order to fit the needs of each individual resident. To learn more about Regency at Pineville, call us at (844) 425-4254. 

Written by Kristen Camden

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 21:49

Charlotte Seniors Have Options to Pay for Long-Term Care

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charlotte senior enjoying life at assisted living communityThe uncertainties of life can get in the way of even the best laid plans. Today’s volatile economy has affected us all and brings unprecedented challenges to seniors and families who are preparing to move to a senior community.

Regency Retirement Village of Charlotte recognizes those challenges and seeks to educate the public about some possible financial solutions that allow seniors and their families to move forward with confidence.

Veterans (or surviving spouses of veterans) may qualify for a monthly pension to offset the cost of senior care. Regency refers them to a company called Elder Resource Benefits that walks them through the process of qualifying for the federal benefits with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Qualification for the wartime pension with aid and attendance is dependent on having low assets and low income.

A company called Life Care Funding has a program to use existing life insurance plans to pay for long term care. CEO Chris Orestis explained that Life Care Funding covers all fees and expenses – the company making money because they own the policies and collect the death benefit when the insured dies. The conversion option applies to almost any form of life insurance: Universal, Whole, Term, and Group. Seniors can sell their policy for 30 to 60 percent of its death-benefit value and put the money into an irrevocable, tax-free fund designated specifically for their care.

Orestis said Medicaid isn’t the best option to pay for the costs of long-term care and seniors should avoid going that route if at all possible because people on the program lose their ability to choose what kind of care they want and where they will go, resulting in a move to a nursing home instead of assisted living. You also need to be below the poverty line to use it, which means spending down your assets to get there.

Long Term Care Benefit Plans are used to fund immediate need for senior care services. Typically tax-free funds are being sent to care providers the same day the account is funded. To qualify for enrollment, care must be funded by the account within 90 days or less of being opened.

“One problem is that people wait until they are in the middle of a crisis before they start trying to figure out long-term care options and how to pay for them,” Orestis told the website LifeHealth.com. “Long-term care is expensive. It’s natural that families want to do whatever they can to help take care of a loved one, but they can go broke in the process.”

Senior living communities must also cover their costs to stay open. Something called “Companion Living” can make it more cost-efficient for many seniors who cannot afford to live alone in an apartment. Having a roommate allows for lower monthly rates without sacrificing services.

Because services take time to process paperwork and homes may be on the market for weeks or months before selling, a bridge loan may be needed for the senior to move right away to Regency Retirement Village or another community like it. These loans are usually low interest and allow multiple persons to co-sign without putting up collateral.

There are tax implications to these strategies, so seniors and their families are urged to read all information carefully and consult with tax professionals before making decisions. For more information about these programs, please contact a Community Consultant at (704) 542-9449.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Charlotte NC retirement livingMoving from a longtime house to a retirement community like Regency is about creating a supportive environment rather than the senior losing anything. There’s a lot to be gained – safety, less stress, entertainment, friendship, and fun – without sacrificing the things that contribute to quality of life.

Assisted Living facilities like Regency Retirement Village are about offering help in a homelike environment where residents can live as independently as possible. Individual apartments preserve the senior’s privacy and dignity while help with activities of daily living such as supervision of medications, dressing and bathing. This helping hand can be the difference between struggling and thriving.

Some seniors dread transitioning from their house to a community because they imagine being sent against their will to someplace unpleasant, but a tour of our facility quickly shatters those misconceptions.

Fear of change should be trumped by anxiety of what can happen when help is not readily available. We’ve all seen the commercials where a senior has fallen and can’t get up, and sadly, the headlines far too often reflect cases where the elderly fall prey to home invasions and con-artists. These apprehensions evaporate when the resident shares a secure space with others dedicated to his or her well-being.

Charlotte retirement communities are not just a place to put the old – most of us, regardless of age, would love to the luxury of having another person mow the grass, shovel the snow, make the food, put away the dishes, clean up and generally take care of us. These are all perks of our golden years after decades of working hard and looking after everyone else’s needs.

Moving to Assisted Living also improves family relationships by reducing the burden on family caregivers who can finally enjoy quality interactions without feelings of guilt or resentment. Time spent together becomes about laughing and playing, plus grown children can sleep easier knowing mom or dad are in a place surrounded by new friends and activities to keep them stimulated for a better quality of life than living alone.

Yes, it is pretty special having your own home, but it is not the only way to enjoy your own space. Sometimes that is possible while surrounded by caring staff to help make life a bit easier.

Call (704) 542-9449 to arrange a free consultation and tour of Regency Retirement Village. 

Written by Steven Stiefel

talk-about-charlotte-nc-assisted-livingEventually, all families have “the talk” with an aging elder about options, including assisted living. While it may be a fairly common conversation, that doesn’t make it any more comfortable to sit down and have it.

It is best to have the talk when there’s no urgency so the parent does not feel forced out of his or her home. A grown child might best approach the topic by planting the seed, bringing the topic of assisted living up in terms of wanting to know the elder’s inevitable wishes so they can be honored, according to Gail Samaha, an elder advisor with GMS Associates.

If there is a need to relocate sooner – perhaps to accommodate a diagnosis or Parkinson’s or dementia – it is important to highlight the positives, be emphatic and speak in a calm, pleasant voice. The senior needs to know that it is important to his or her family that feelings matter. 

It’s a conversation that can be non-threatening, and the senior may actually become eager to make the move once seeing Regency Retirement Village of Charlotte with his or her own eyes. Aside from the peace of mind gained from living in a secure building with experienced professionals attending to residents’ comfort and needs, there’s the spacious accommodations, new friendships to be made and lots of activities to make life here fulfilling.

Assisted Living promotes independence and dignity, which may be far from the misconceptions that someone starts out with about retirement living. Regency offers our Heritage Memory Care Unit, which means that if the resident’s health declines over time, their life won’t be disrupted a second time down the road.

To arrange a tour of Regency Retirement Village, call us at (704) 542-9449 or fill out the form to the right and someone will respond to you with answers to your questions. For information on moving in, see this page of information: http://www.regencyretirement.net/charlotte-elderly-care-resources/retirement-community-move-in-info

Monday, 29 April 2013 12:16

Keep Your Memory Fit For Optimal Function

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According to Richard C. Mohs, vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine,  “In many cases, an older person's brain may be less effective not because of a structural or organic problem but simply as a result of lack of use.” That’s great for those who are concerned about reduced memory function as they age. If you want to use it instead of lose it, here are our recommended steps towards a fitter memory:

  • Dial back distractions. Studies show that “as we get older, our ability to filter out distracting influences actually decreases, making it all the more important to concentrate on the task at hand.” It can take a lot of effort to break the multi-tasking habit after years of cramming so much work into busy days and using electronic devices, but it’s well worth it.
  • Clear up clutter. Not only do you need to reduce mental distractions, it’s important to get rid of environmental ones as well. It will reduce your stress level and make it easier to remember where things are and what you need to be doing if everything is organized. Pick up office products to help you keep your paperwork tidy, create a day planner to know what tasks lie ahead, and spend some time each day tidying up small messes. Anything you can do to simplify will keep your memory clearer as well.
  • Emphasize exercise and nutrition. By treating your body right, you’re helping it support your mind. After years of diet habits dictated by a tight schedule or what was near work or your children’s activities, it’s time to form new ones. Eating right and getting in daily physical activity can reduce other health conditions, offers an opportunity to socialize, reduces stress, and can mean learning a fun new skill like cooking or tennis, baking or biking.
  • Love learning. Learning is one of the things that helps your mind grow when you’re younger, and that doesn’t change with age. Giving your mind new things to process and store helps keep those skills sharp, just like continuing to work your muscles helps them stay strong. Now is the time to study French like you always wanted to, or maybe take a Tango class. Pick up classic literature you always meant to read, or give yourself over to an interest in music.
  • Rev up remembering. Memory isn’t only a matter of ability or health, it’s also a matter of practice. Rev up your ability to remember information by practicing memorization techniques. Pick up new vocabulary words using flash cards or word games. Study famous speeches using memory palaces or acting techniques. Learn a new religious or poetry verse each day. Make remembering routine.

These steps can make a big difference in your memory function, while also improving other areas of your life. Try them today and see the difference it makes it helping you stay on top of day to day life.

Thursday, 28 March 2013 12:04

Your Role as a Caregiver

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Caregiving can sometimes feel frustrating or disruptive as much as it can be fulfilling and rewarding. After all, it requires adjusting relationships, routines, and plans. It can be hard on both you and your loved one as you struggle with role reversal, stress, and a change in ability. Here are our top three suggestions for how to handle the transition gracefully and confidently:

Be flexible. Things are going to change, sometimes often, sometimes over many years. Your relationship with your loved one will change, as will the expectations and needs of everyone involved. You may need to travel more often if your loved one lives far away, or invite an aging parent into your home for caregiving. You may find yourself making regular trip across town to the retirement community you selected for your husband or wife. Hospital stays might disrupt your schedule. You never know when something could come up, positive or negative, from a day of unexpected mental clarity from a loved one with Alzheimers to a sudden fall from a great aunt. Prepare yourself ahead of time to roll with the punches and commit to flexibility.

Get organized. There are more ways than ever to stay on top of schedules, coordinate care providers, and keep items neatly arranged at home. Do some research, whether online, by talking to a doctor, or chatting with friends who have experience as caregivers to find solutions that will work best for you. Not only are there pills to take and shots to administer, there is also a lot of new information to keep straight. You may want to keep any interesting and helpful articles you’ve found on, say gout or dysphagia together for easy reference, or invest in a new closet system that puts home medical equipment at arm’s reach and out of sight.

Focus on the big picture. If the daily details are overwhelming you, try to step back. For example, caring for a parent with diabetes might seem like a never ending flurry of lancets and test strips, but if you take a moment to think about the situation globally you’ll notice that all that hard work is paying off with fewer hospital visits and improved overall health. It may be tough debating with your wife often about a new low-sodium regemin for her heart condition, but if you see the big picture you’ll notice that she’s been able to stop taking two of the medications you were managing. Focusing on the big picture, too, can mean the sad acknowledgement of your loved one’s mortality, but that also leaves a lot of room to celebrate the time you have together, however stressful it may be at times.

By staying positive and proactive you can transform caregiving from a chore to a vocation, and better appreciate the new relationship and lifestyle you share with someone special.

When a loved one begins to experience memory problems, it can disrupt not only the special moments between family and friends, but also the ins and outs of daily life. It is never an easy decision to make, but sometimes Alzheimers, dementia, and other memory disorders reach a point where the individual requires more care than you have so far provided.

Finding a facility that can assist your loved one with not only day to day living, but also with the specific problems faced by those with memory loss can feel daunting. The Alzheimer's Association notes that these decisions are especially difficult specifically because by the time assistance is needed, the individual may not be able to fully participate in the selection process.

 

Thats why it is so important to be well-informed about the results of your loved ones medical and mental assessment by a qualified physician, and to know what questions to ask when investigating different memory care options.By first getting a full physical and mental exam, you can know exactly what level of care your loved one needs, and your doctor may inform you about what basic facility requirements to look for. We recommend always asking about the following points of care:

How will the facility protect your loved one against any tendencies to wander?

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