Category: Senior Living

Why independent living enhances life

Many people think of retirement as a time to truly live life.

You’ve spent years working, caring for children, potentially even caring for your grandchildren and spending your time serving the community. When it comes time to retire, many older adults often want to take some time to do what they love, explore passions and focus on everything they’ve been wanting to do for years.

At an independent living community such as those Diakon offers, we understand this fact, so we provide opportunities and amenities to enable residents to have the freedom to do as they please, every day.

Focus on hobbies and passions—because of the freedom you’ll have!

Our independent living lifestyle allows residents to be as busy, as relaxed and as adventurous as they wish. Click here for just a few of the ways we ensure our residents have more time to focus on their interests and hobbies.

Are fat-free and sugar-free products better for you?

As a registered dietitian, I am often asked a lot of health- and diet-related questions by friends and family members. 

Two of the more common ones are:·         

Are artificial sweeteners better for you than real sugar?

Which fats are “good” fats?  

Eating a healthy diet includes all food groups; our bodies need carbohydrates, fats and protein to function properly and the right mix is key. So can fat-free and low-fat products aid in keeping ourselves fit and healthy? 

Absolutely! 

However, paying attention to labels is key. Because something labeled low-fat may not be a magic bullet.  

The social benefits of a senior living community

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll not only on health but also on people’s ability to socialize.

We’ve taken extensive steps at all our senior living communities to provide as much socialization as possible while focused as well on keeping everyone safe. Nevertheless, we look forward to the time soon when we can resume more “normal” activities.

That’s particularly important because something most people recognize about senior living communities is that socialization and connections are key to creating this ideal environment for older people.

Connecting with others and remaining social have many advantages; in fact, most older adults find that living alone at home simply doesn’t provide opportunities for them to meet new people, explore their passions, enjoy the company of others or live the lifestyle they want to enjoy.

At a senior living community, there are many ways people can achieve the benefits of socialization, allowing for a happy, healthy and social life!

If you or a loved one are looking into making the move to a senior living community—particularly now that vaccinations are beginning to take hold and we are offering safety-focused in-person tours—I hope you will consider some of the social benefits residents enjoy on a daily basis!

You can meet an array of new people. When moving to and living in a senior living community, you can be introduced to different types of people who have similar life experiences or very different ones. From seniors just like you to people who enjoy other interests, the opportunities are endless.

Click here to read more about the social benefits of a senior living community…

How to choose the perfect memory care community

Mark and Sarah both noticed the same thing.

It was just after Christmas several years ago when Sarah’s mother called one of her grandchildren by the wrong name.

It was just an honest slip-up, they thought.

But more memory-related concerns arose after that one incident and, eventually, they knew Sarah’s mother, who was widowed, would soon need some type of memory care. They were coming to fear for her safety as she continued to live alone.

Many families quickly become overwhelmed in looking for the best memory-care options. That’s understandable; there are many options and resources available.

But all of us at Diakon Senior Living Services stand ready as experts in senior care to help you review your options and make an informed decision.

Be sure to tour a variety of programs and communities. While proximity to you may be very important, the types of services your loved one requires may not be available as close as you hope, so be open to reviewing all communities, even if they are not as close as you prefer. However, be sure also consider the impact longer-distance travel can have.

To read more tips about how to choose a memory care facility, please click here. 

Quality care that feels like vacation

It’s just like a vacation.

That’s what the 101-year-old calls her occasional stays in personal care at a Diakon Senior Living Community.

“My family—I am so fortunate to live with them—travels a lot during the year. They work hard and certainly deserve that time away,” says the woman.

“And I certainly never want to be a burden!”

Bridging the gap

Bridges are often a welcome sight.

They lead us to a new vista or, in many instances, home from a trip away.

Diakon Senior Living Services’ Bridge to Home program is one more instance of that important connection—a critical link to comforting surroundings, to what is familiar.

Diakon’s Bridge to Home service is a concept we offer to help rehab patients and others nearing the end of hospitalization or short-term care take the important steps to return home.

Even in 2020, there were things to be thankful for …

The dates may have varied in each senior living community, but the outcome was the same. For us, it was March 12 of last year. The day everything changed.

That was the day the Diakon senior living community of which I am chaplain closed its doors to visitors and most family members to protect our residents from the virus that can cause COVID-19 disease. In an instant, most of my tasks as chaplain fell away.

Five tips for talking to an aging parent about long-term care

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, not every older adult is able to shelter at home indefinitely.

There are some older people who need long-term care to continue to thrive. Sometimes, that situation may be apparent when family members who live at a distance visit for the holidays. Today, those visits may occur via Zoom or other online means, but the need for long-term care may be apparent nevertheless.

So how do you talk with an aging parent about the need for long-term care?

Certainly, we recognize that we want to care for our parent as well as they cared for us. After all, it’s the least we can do for all the sacrifices they’ve made for us. However, for a variety of reasons, it may be impossible for us to care for an older adult ourselves. That realization is often what brings many adult children and aging parents to consider long-term care as an option. But, again, how best to do that?

Preparing to talk about long-term care …

This may be a difficult conversation, so be sure to keep an open mind, do your research and talk somewhere private. It’s also important to remember this will be a conversation you may likely have more than once, so be patient as well.

Try following these tips to help ease your parent into talking about long-term care while having a successful conversation.

1. Choose the right time and place. It’s often best to bring up the subject of long-term care naturally as opposed to springing it on a loved one. Choose a time of day that your loved one is often in a good mood and ensure there are few distractions present. Then, make sure to talk in private.

To read more tips, please click here.

10 questions to ask when choosing a personal care community

The pandemic has upended so many aspects of life and, for some families, it has underscored the need for personal care and the individualized lifestyle and services it offers.

Nevertheless, determining that you or a loved one needs personal-care support is never an easy decision. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t end there. In fact, some people say the hardest part comes after the decision: Choosing the right personal care community.

This decision can take a while, but that’s okay. It’s not a decision to be made in a rush, but sometimes situations require a decision sooner than we might want. Research upfront can be especially helpful because what might be important to you or another family member may not be to your loved one.

Because personal care communities differ in size, configuration and offer, here are 10 questions you can ask that may ease your decision-process:

1. How are care plans created? The term “personal care” can encompass many things. Some older adults require only a little extra assistance, such as help with cleaning, cooking or transportation. Others may require more extensive assistance for medication management, dressing and bathing and even mobility assistance. When choosing a personal care community, be sure you are selecting one that carefully considers the needs of each resident rather than having a one-size-fits-all approach.

2. What floor plans are available? Different communities may have different approaches to personal care. If your loved one needs light care, he or she may be able to live in a private-style suite; other suites may have a shared bathroom or other adaptations based on need. Review various options so that you find accommodations that fulfill both physical and personal needs.

3. Does the community have a wait list? Many personal care communities have full residency and maintain a wait list for prospective residents. If you find several communities you like and they’re full, it’s a good idea to put your name on a waiting list so that if accommodations become available, you can be ready to move. This is another reason it’s important to start looking for a community before it’s medically necessary; that way, you don’t have to settle for “good enough”; you can settle for “exactly what I want.”

Click here to read more questions to ask in the decision-making process! 

The true costs of homeownership …

We recently held several events focused on de-cluttering your home.

It’s amazing how much stuff we can accumulate over the years so de-cluttering can be important, particularly as people age.

At the same time, some of that “stuff” often is what may make a home special to us. It makes the home “ours.”

According to industry data, nine out of 10 adults—and not just older adults—say they want to remain in their homes as they age. Typically, they want to stay close to family and friends, are satisfied with their current home and find comfort in their community.

Finances come into play, too. After having lived in a family home for decades, many older adults are comfortably mortgage-free and have no desire to go back to paying one. Living in a home you already own is much more affordable—right!

Maybe. But maybe not.

Certainly, when you start looking at the costs of senior living communities—particularly Continuing Care Retirement Communities, sometimes called CCRCs—the price tag can make you pause. Not only is there a monthly charge, but CCRCs also have an entrance fee that must be paid to become a resident.

However, after you review those initial figures, you may be surprised—and a little shocked—at how affordable a CCRC can be when compared to traditional homeownership. Let’s use an example.

Retired for several years, Peggy and John are in their mid-70s and have owned their current family home for more than 25 years. The home is paid off. However, they’ve been thinking about the future and wondering whether staying in their current home is the right choice.

Click HERE to read more about the true costs of home ownership and how that can compare to a CCRC….