Senior living Q&A
Should we move?
How can I possibly begin to downsize?
What will I do if my health declines?
As older adults consider options in retirement, they often have questions and concerns. One of the major questions concerns where they should live. We asked admissions staff at a variety of Diakon Senior Living Communities for their input on the topic. Here are their combined answers:
1. About what do you find people in retirement most concerned?
- The folks I speak with are starting to look at retirement living options much sooner than they typically did in the past. They are interested in knowing what will happen if they need more care, if they can continue their current activities and pursuits, and when the “right time” will be for them to make a transition. I suggest making the choice sooner, while you can still be actively involved in the process.
- How to handle home needs, how to downsize and steps involved if they need to move.
- Will they have enough money to live the lifestyle they choose for the rest of their lives?
- Packing up and getting rid of their belongings/downsizing. The task of downsizing can be involved—what to keep and what to eliminate; how to decide, who will help, what to do if their children might want something later, letting go of the emotional connections that may have been made with those items and their home. I think folks are most afraid that by moving and getting rid of “stuff,” their memories related to those items will be lost as well.
2. What are important features to look for in a senior living community?
- A continuum of care with access to a variety of stimulating events and activities that meet the needs of all ages. Older adults need to feel secure that they will be well cared for at every stage of their lives.
- A wellness program. Physical, mental and social activities to stay healthy.
- Active and happy residents who are already living in the community.
- Benevolent care funds to ensure that you will be cared for if your finances become exhausted.
- Make two lists when shopping for a retirement community: “Wants” and “needs.” Make sure your needs will be met and if the “wants” are not there, inquire what can be done to make them happen if possible.
3. What is something people would be surprised to know about older adults living in retirement communities?
- How active they are! Many attend fitness classes at varying levels, they volunteer, they love anything educational; they now have time to do the things they want to do, instead of the things they had to when living in their homes. In fact, not only do they volunteer in the community, but some also still hold jobs.
- Most of our residents moved to our community because they wanted to be here, not because they needed to be here. Many of them will tell you they should have moved here sooner.
- There is a resident who conducts regular manicure sessions for our assisted living residents. Others volunteer regularly at our skilled nursing care center to assist with activities. One resident in his early nineties skydives, dances, bowls weekly, holds regular sing-alongs with our residents and just returned from a European trip. Residents plan, organize and execute a variety of fundraisers and events. The important thing to remember is that retirement is about enjoying life and doing the things you want to do and not what you have to do.
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