Senior Living Care Blog

Matt Boyle

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Volunteering In Your Retirement

Posted by Matt Boyle on Sep 7, 2018 11:00:00 AM
 

One of the most looming questions people have in retirement is what to do with their oodles of newfound time. With careers in the rear-view mirror, seniors commonly waste their golden years away. Finding purpose in retirement can be difficult, however finding fulfilling work isn’t impossible. Volunteering is a wonderful senior activity for individuals to get out in the community and find purpose in what they do. Whether it be volunteering at a 5k or a soup kitchen, there’s a multitude of ways for seniors to participate in the community and positively impact those around them.

 

 

Benefits of Volunteering In Retirement

 

A group of individuals coming together to hold hands.

 

Promotes Physical Activity

The most important aspect of volunteering is it gets you active. Getting out of your house becomes essential in retirement, as it is easy to fall into the trap of staying home 24/7 due to laziness. The corresponding effects from no exercise, especially at a higher age, bring nothing but negative aspects into ones’ life. Volunteering gives seniors the chance to enjoy a day outside while simultaneously helping those in need. The benefits in this case are twofold, only further the idea that volunteering in your retirement can be impactful for many involved.

 

Positive Mental Health

Volunteering allows seniors to stay not only physically active, but mentally active as well. Even the most medial of tasks can help keep an elderly brain active. Studies have also shown that volunteering can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and other mental health issues related to the elderly. Volunteering is also a great place to find some self-confidence, as giving your own time to assist those in need can be rather fulfilling. Retirees can take solace in the fact that the work they are doing results in the direct improvement of someone else’s life, even if it’s only for a short period of time.

 

Prevents Loneliness

As it was briefly touched on earlier, volunteering has the ability to eliminate isolation and loneliness among the elderly. It’s easier for seniors to live in isolation than it is for them to get outside and make some connections. Volunteering offers to fix this issue, all the while adding the “helping those in need” aspect that I touched on earlier. So in totality, volunteering in your retirement is a great way to make new, meaningful connections while being validated by the fact that those who you are helping/making connections with need it as well.

 

You Have The Time

Retirees, for the most part, have the large amounts of free time on their hands. It’s hard for the elderly to fill all of their newfound available time, so naturally volunteering fits in seamlessly. The benefits are twofold, as seniors need activities to gobble up their time, and volunteering organizations are always in search of additional helping hands. Don’t stay home and twiddle your fingers all day watching paint dry, get outside and help those in need! There’s always organizations actively looking for volunteers to donate their time and hard work.

 

Opportunity Of Discovery

When volunteering, it’s easy to discover new things, just as new discoveries happen overtime as you age. Meeting new people and hearing their stories can change a person and the amazing thing about volunteering is it generally requires this communication to occur. Without a doubt, volunteering is one of the best ways to make new discoveries about yourself as you age. Additionally, it’s never too late to find new passions in life. Besides the obvious benefit of doing things out of the goodness of your heart, finding new things previously undiscovered to you can also be considered one of the main reasons to volunteer.

 

Generational Unification

Volunteering as a retiree gives you a unique chance to build connections with those from younger generations. Assimilating with those around you regardless or age, social status, or race is always an activity that is sure to bring positive results. Having a greater understanding of those who live around you in a communal setting is a fantastic way to stay engaged in your community. Tying that back into my previous talking point, you are also bound to discover new things the more you conversate with someone you hadn’t previously met or conversated with.

 

 

Next Steps

In conclusion, there are a multitude of reasons to volunteer in your retirement. Whether it be the overwhelming need to donate your time and effort to someone less fortunate, or to try and bridge to divide between the older and younger generation, the reasons retirees should volunteer are abundant. Make sure to reach out to your local community organizations to find volunteer opportunities close by, you might find something unexpected about yourself, or the people you’ve decided to help. Chances are, you will not find out unless you experience volunteering in your community for yourself. Reach out to senior living communities near you for volunteering options and potential future residences for you our your loved ones. 

 

 

Learn More Here!

 

 

About The Author:

Matthew Boyle
COO @ Landmark Senior Living
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top rated Assisted Living Facilities in the Midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Matthew and the team at Landmark are dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the elderly.

 

Topics: Senior Activities

Is Your Home Safe for Seniors?

Posted by Matt Boyle on Jul 25, 2018 11:00:00 AM
 

Deciding to have a senior stay in your residence can be a monumental decision that requires a lot of planning and consideration before you commit. Elderly people often have unforeseen medical complications and require assistance in getting daily tasks completed. Before you decide to take on the responsibility of taking care of an elderly relative or friend, consider the following ways your house may not be prepared to accommodate their specific needs.

 

Areas Of Concern For Seniors

 

The Kitchen

 

An individual about to step on a banana peel. The kitchen is an area of concern when determining if your home is safe for the seniors in your life.

 

The kitchen is a location that sees a lot of action, whether it’s preparing food, eating meals together, crafting projects, paying bills, or reading a book. With so much going on, it can be easy to overlook the dangers that may exist in your kitchen for an elderly person. They could easily slip and fall, burn themselves, start a fire, or microwave something they should not. For these reasons, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your kitchen is senior proof. The first step is conducting an audit of your current kitchen layout and determining the risk factors in every corner.

 

Remove low hanging dish towels or other flammable items that are nearby stove tops, along with any melt-able plastics or metals that could be unintentionally heated up. Make sure curtains are an appropriate length as well. Seniors should be encouraged to wear long sleeves when cooking anything on the stove top that has excess amount of grease, otherwise they should wear short sleeves or roll up their sleeves in most instances. Make sure that you have a working smoke detector installed not only within your kitchen but through the rest of the house as well. You can also minimize the possible damage from a fire by equipping your kitchen with an easy-to-operate fire extinguisher. You can go over the instructions with your family and your senior so that everyone can operate it in an emergency. Have good lighting available in your kitchen, especially near dangerous appliances and cutlery. And as always, keep your cutlery properly stored.

 

The Pantry/Refrigerator

Having food properly labeled and dangerous chemicals safely stored is a priority for any household with residents that are elderly or infants. Make sure your fridge is kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to make sure nothing expires quickly. Seniors can develop memory related cognitive impairments, so check and double check expiration dates on all your foods to make sure they are not going to ingest something they’ve left in the fridge for too long.

 

Flooring

Tile flooring can be especially dangerous in certain parts of the house where water may be spilled. For example, the entryway from the backyard if you have a pool, the kitchen, the bathroom etc… These could all easily be places where a senior could take a slip and fall. In the kitchen, you’ll want to have mats over your tiled floor, and keep any common items available on lower cupboards. Especially in front of the sink, you’ll want to have some sort of non-skid mat to prevent falling hazards. Throughout the house you’ll have to conduct an inspection to see if there are any protruding surfaces or obstacles that could possibly lead to your senior falling. Common areas for this include entrances inside and outside, doorways, the top and bottom of flights of stairs, and any areas with poor lighting. Speaking of, you may need to install motion sensitive night lights along any paths that the senior may take at night.

 

Restrooms

The bathrooms in your house may pose the most significant risk for elderly persons in your home. Seniors often have trouble stepping in and out of showers/baths, so you’ll have to consider whether you should renovate your bathroom. These renovations could include changing your shower to be non-step, installing a no-slip mat on the floor of the shower, installing grip handles and more. Bathtubs can also be modified to create a safer way to enter and exit. Seniors may need extra room to maneuver around comfortably, and if they require assistance with undressing, bathing, or using the toilet, your bathroom will need to be able to accommodate two. If your senior uses a wheelchair to get around, this could involve even further renovations.

 

Bathrooms pose a difficulty for homeowners because making renovations involves carefully working around pipes and pressure valves. If you are considering installing a grab bar to help your senior get up and sit down safely, realize that it will legally have to support a large amount of weight, from 250-300 pounds.

 

Stairs

Stairs can be the next most dangerous portion of the household for seniors to navigate If your senior is wheelchair bound or needs help walking, then you will have to consider installing a chair lift or elevator in your household. These types of appliances can be costly to install and maintain. The average cost for motorized chair lift can be $3,000 to $5,000, while an elevator can cost upwards of $20,000. If this is out of the question, then you will have to make sure your stairs have no loose planks or bumps and that they are well lit.

 

It is possible to pay for these kinds of renovations and make these lifestyle changes on your own, but it’s impossible to know for sure if your elderly person will become more difficult to accommodate over time. They could also require the help of a live-in nurse or other skilled caregiver. If your senior requires around the clock care, they may find life in a senior living facility preferable. It can be tough to determine what the best type of care is for your loved ones. While there are many different types of cares options for seniors, two of the most prevalent are skilled nursing and assisted living.

 

Next Steps

When you or your loved ones are ready to take the next step and find a senior living community that's right for them, look no further. Landmark Senior Living offers assisted living, independent living, memory care and more. At Landmark, you are ensuring that your loved ones are in the best hands for the care they need.

 

 

Learn More Here!

 

 

About The Author

COO @ Landmark Senior Living

Matt Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top rated Assisted Living Facilities in the Midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Matthew and the team at Landmark are dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the elderly.

 

Topics: Senior Tips

Financial Planning Tips For Seniors

Posted by Matt Boyle on Jun 4, 2018 11:00:00 AM
 

Getting older often presents a new set of changes and challenges in the lives of those affected. You’ve most likely spent most of your adult life living near your financial means, saving for the day you might retire. But now that you’ve reached this pinnacle age, you might be asking yourself if you should make any changes to the way you handle money.

The answer boils down to how much you have managed to save over your lifetime, as well as how much you have invested, what types of investments you made, whether you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Many seniors find themselves on a tighter budget as they reach retirement age, as they are no longer gainfully employed and rely on government assistance and what they put away for retirement.

 

Essential Financial Planning Tips for Seniors

A glass vase with coins coming out of it. As we age, it is still important to practice financial responsibility.

 

1) Don’t Stop Saving

Saving money is always a good idea, no matter what your age is. You might be thinking that you saved your whole life, so now it’s time to enjoy the fruit of your labor. But you still need those funds to financially support you throughout the rest of your life. Remember, you’re no longer gainfully employed, so whatever you saved can be rapidly depleted if you’re not careful.

 

2) Pay Your Bills On Time

If you’re on a limited budget, the worst thing you can do is rack up late fees because you didn’t pay the bill. The average person spends up to $600 per year on past due to charges. Most people on a limited budget would tell you that every penny saved matters.

 

3) Cut Things You Don’t Need

This is a difficult but necessary task. If you find yourself continually falling behind and paying late fees, then you should consider letting go and selling items that you don't need. Make a list of your monthly expenses and total income from all sources. Do the math and determine how much money is left over. From there you'll know for sure whether or not it's time to reduce expenses.

 

4) Reevaluate Your Assets Each Year

If you have valuable assets, it's likely that you’re also paying for insurance to cover theft and damage. Sometimes the value of your assets will drop and you end up paying a lot more money to the insurance company than you need to.

 

5) Consider Moving Into A Senior Care Facility

Do you still live in your large family home, despite the kids moving out? Maybe it’s time to move into a senior living facility so you no longer have to worry about things like repairs on your home, cutting the grass, and higher taxes/utilities. These all cost money and can be eliminated from your budget by making a change.

 

6) Join Your Local Senior Center

Every senior has a different vision of the perfect retirement. While some enjoy the thought of relaxing on the porch and watching the world go by, others want to continue to be a very active part of that world. Sometimes, the more active and social a senior wants to be, the more they will spend. Becoming a member of your local senior center will expose you to discounts on popular local activities and is a very affordable way to keep up your socializing. 

 

7) Focus On saving, Not Spending

During your working life, you likely concentrated on saving for your retirement. That mindset shouldn’t shift the minute you leave the working world. Now is not the time to start focusing on depleting your hard-earned money, but instead focus on maintaining your savings throughout the rest of your years. If you treat your retirement savings with respect and manage your money carefully, you can help ensure a long and comfortable set of golden years for yourself and your spouse. Learn more about how landmark can help you with financial planning.

 

8) Decide If You Need Help From An Expert

A financial advisor could be of great assistance if you need specific questions answered quickly and correctly. However, be careful when selecting an advisor. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there are more than 50 senior designations used by financial advisors, and these can all have varying degrees of quality. These designations cover training and standards. You can learn more about these designations at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website at finra.org.

 

9) Develop A Spending Plan For Your Retirement

Having a plan in place for your money and limiting all your expenses is extremely important. You can always find ways to cut costs and put those savings into an account where it can gain interest or at least keep it from being spent. Some things you can do are argue for better interest rates on outstanding loans, refinance your mortgage, carpool on grocery trips, and lower your air conditioning whenever possible.

 

10) Look For Discounts And Deals Wherever You Go

For consumers over a certain age, there are plenty of financial institutions that offer breaks on the cost of bank products and services. But even if your bank offers an exclusive deal for seniors, you may be able to do better with another institution or with another type of account at that bank. Make some comparisons between different institutions. Banks and other businesses may be willing to negotiate with respect to fees or other items, so make sure to inquire about everything and show them other institutions that may be offering better deals.

 

11) Turn A Hobby Into A Money Maker

If you have a side interest or hobby that you would like to invest more time in, you should consider turning it into a profit. Perhaps you like carving birdhouses or chairs, or maybe you have experience in an industry and would wish to consult. There are plenty of ways you can turn your skills and interests into a profitable side hobby well into adult age.

 

12) Use Credit Cards With Caution

Accumulating debt is a costly burden that can gradually grow to overwhelm you. Many seniors mire themselves in considerable credit card debt because they left balances unpaid, accrued late charges, or just simply forgot about cards. Before making a purchase, consider what card you are going to use, and always make sure to monitor your credit to ensure a bad balance is not tanking your credit score.

 

Next Steps

At Landmark Senior Living, our goal is to create the utmost in independent living for every one of our senior housing residents. Our independent living program is tailored to each individual’s needs and includes robust daily exercise, yoga, & strength training classes available for senior fitness enthusiasts. At Landmark, you’re making an investment that will serve you for the rest of our life.

 

 

Learn More Here

 

 

About The Author

Matthew Boyle

COO @ Landmark Senior Living

Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top-rated Assisted Living Facilities in the Midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for seven years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Matthew and the team at Landmark are dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the elderly.

 

Topics: financial planning

How to Choose a Senior Living Community

Posted by Matt Boyle on Apr 27, 2018 11:00:00 AM

 

The process of choosing a senior living community begins when you start to notice changes concerning a loved one. Maybe they no longer want the trouble of having to maintain a house. Or perhaps you find that they are often alone and in need of social interaction. This could also coincide with significant episodes concerning memory loss, driving ability, decreased mobility, or overall difficulty accomplishing menial tasks. Eventually, the conversation has to become directed towards a new path. It's time to decide whether or not it is time to consider a senior living facility for your loved one.

Even though they may still be independent, integrating into the right senior living facility can do wonders for the mental acuity and health of your loved one. Finding the right retirement community that can meet your loved ones needs is critical. In general, it is best to find a community that offers a wide range of care options. This way, as your loved one’s needs change, they will continue to receive the proper care needed. It's also wise to choose a location with a climate that they will be comfortable living in. You should also leverage the web to research and read reviews about all the available options.

 

Finding a Senior Living Community

 

The first step to take when searching for senior living communities is to think about your loved one's health needs and personal preferences. Some items to consider before you begin the process of searching:

  • What kind of assistance will my loved one need? For example, if your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer's, what kind of memory care options are available?
  • Where will my loved one want to live? In a warm or colder climate? Near family? Near shopping and retail? Near a golf course? Near a hospital?
  • What kind of features do they need to function? Wheelchair access? Assistance showering?
  • What is their budget? Prioritize everything from what is absolutely necessary to what is merely desired.

 

Once you have compiled a list of criteria and proper budget, you can begin searching online to find the right community near you. Some excellent resources beyond Google and simple word of mouth include:

 

Throughout this process, you should keep the focus on finding a community that will keep your loved one happy and healthy, both now and in the future

 

Evaluating Senior Living Communities

In this part of the process, you've successfully narrowed down your list of communities to a handful of top choices. Make sure that your loved one is extremely involved or leading the process to find their new home. Once you have a list, it can be helpful to tour their physical location(s) with your loved one (if possible). It can be helpful at this point to bring along pre-written questions, in case they do not cover everything during the tour. Some of the key aspects to have top of mind include the quality of the following factors:

 

Activities

Having a healthy balance of recreational activities is an important part of senior communities. That's because it promotes socialization and gives residents a purpose and chance to do something fun. The full list of activities available should cater to a wide variety of interests and physical abilities. But most importantly, it should contain activities that your loved one would enjoy, or would at least be interested in trying! This can include everything from outings, to church service, to community service, to sports. Make sure to go over the community's activity list with your loved one.

 

Medical Care

Does your loved one require specialists? If so, does your ideal senior living facility have staff clinically trained to administer that treatment? Or is the community located near medical professionals that are capable of doing so? Look for a retirement community that can provide care or detailed information about nearby medical providers. Likewise, check online reviews to make sure staff will treat your loved one the way they would want to be treated.

 

Weather

What type of weather is your loved one comfortable living in? Research the potential areas they are interested in and find out what the climate is like from season to season. Always visit the area and ask residents what they think of the weather, especially if they are transplants from another state. If they love warmth, they may like retirement homes in Florida, or if east coast winters are more their thing, check out senior living communities in Boston, MA. It's important to remember that this will be more than a short term commitment.

A couple enjoying the weather outdoors at their senior living community. 

Budget

This is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a location. Affordable senior living facilities are not especially easy to find. That's why having budget top of mind is a priority when evaluating different options. Consider what your monthly bills will be, as well as any unexpected medical expenses could occur. There's also the reality of entrance fees, monthly maintenance, and any up charges that could accrue.

 

Questions to Ask While Touring

  • Can we go over the contract details concerning regulations fees?
  • How does billing work?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Can residents come and go as they please?
  • What restrictions do you place on residents?
  • What activities and events do you encourage residents to participate in?
  • Do you take Medicaid, Medicare, VA Aid, long-term care insurance or any other payment program?

 

While touring the facilities, keep an eye out for how whole the grounds are kept, how happy residents seem, and what the overall atmosphere is. Speak to residents and find out if they're satisfied with their current level of care and amenities. Look out for any red flags, and notice any positive signs. Check out our features on the signs to look for when evaluating quality of senior care:

 

Signs of a Great Senior Living Community

  • Excellent Behavioral Care
  • Certification from the State
  • Variety of Scheduled Activities and Functions
  • Great Comfort and Care
  • Wonderful Senior Community Friends
  • Safety Features

 

Signs of a Bad Senior Living Community

  • Noticeable Wear and Physical Signs of Stress
  • Residents are Uncomfortable with or Avoid Questions
  • Frantic or Apathetic and Uncaring Staff, High Turnover
  • Hostility Between Staff and Residents
  • Poor Customer Service

 

Bottom Line

When embarking on the search to find a great senior living community, there are a great number of variables that should factor into you and your loved one's decision. This guide will provide you with a starting point and outline to follow for when you begin the journey to find a new home.

Landmark Senior Living Communities can save you from the hassle and emotional stress of searching for a great community. At Landmark, your loved one will be able to experience exceptional care and comfort delivered daily. We take care of our residents, and build strong relationships through our combined dedication to people, passion, and purpose.

 

 Schedule A Tour!

 

 

Topics: Senior living community

The Importance of Senior Fitness & Health

Posted by Matt Boyle on Apr 25, 2018 11:00:00 AM

 

For anyone, staying in shape is a positive way to keep happy and healthy-Senior fitness is a great way to obtain that goal. It’s also an excellent method for lowering risk of adverse health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and even anxiety and depression. Regularly scheduled physical activities are even more important for persons at an advanced age level. Staying active can improve quality of life for seniors, reduce risk of falling injuries and improve mental perception. In order to live long, productive lives, it’s important for seniors to keep their bodies moving, fueled with the right substances, and achieving adequate sleep.

 

Why is Health and Fitness Important for Seniors?

With the advancement of age, there comes a bevy of unavoidable body changes. Metabolism is expected to slow down, and the body accumulates fat much easier than it used to, as opposed to generating muscle strength. Risk of osteoporosis also rises, especially in elderly women, increasing the likelihood of bone fractures and serious injuries. However, with the right exercise regimen in place, you can reduce these other aging related changes in the body.

 

Important benefits include:

 
  1. Improvements in mood and mental clarity
  2. Improved sleep
  3. Reduced risk of falling, bone fractures
  4. Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and dementia

 

Strength Training for Seniors

Strength training is one of the oldest methods of building muscle size and strength. However, for may seniors, it can be an intimidating leap to begin this kind of training. It’s important though, because even taking small steps towards increasing overall muscle strength with senior fitness can have lasting benefits. The CDC recommends participating in strength training workouts at least twice a week in order to stay healthy as a senior. Always start using small weights when you first begin strength training, and implement a changing lineup of muscle targeted workouts throughout each week.

Dumbbells, tennis shoes, an exercise ball and scale-Senior fitness is an imperative step in maintaining good health.

The following core five movements should all be targeted at least once per week. Check out Elder Gym for detailed instructions on elderly health and fitness exercises.

  1. Pull-down
  2. Chest press
  3. Compound Row
  4. Overhead Press
  5. Leg Press

Each workout requires a small amount of stabilization on the part of the rest of the body. In order to maximize the benefits, make sure to start slowly, with weights you can handle, and make all movements gradual and slow. Find a comfortable rep and set amount where you feel adequately tired but not in pain. And if it is your first time, make sure to have someone stand by to spot check.

 

Aerobic Exercise for Seniors

If you’re aged 65 or older, the CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of medium to intense Aerobic activity a week. Aerobic activity is any exercise that increases our heart rate for an extended period of time. To build endurance makes your heart stronger and in time you’ll see positive changes in health and mood.

To get started, it’s important to approach all exercise gradually. To build aerobic endurance, begin with small walks or jogs. Once you’ve reached a 30 minute walk without feeling winded, you’re prepared to move on to more rigorous aerobic activities. For the best results, it’s important to make sure your heart rate is getting elevated at an acceptable rate.

 

Some ideal, low-impact methods of exercise to start with for seniors include:

 
  1. Walking
  2. Cycling
  3. Swimming
  4. Water aerobics
  5. Line dancing

Flexibility Exercises for Seniors

Before starting any workout regime, it’s best to make sure your body is nice and warmed up. This can be achieved by anything as small as going for a short walk to stretching and holding yoga poses for 10 seconds at a time. If your muscles are feeling tight, you should get warmed up and stretch before engaging in a workout. We usually exercise to make our bodies feel better, exercising without proper stretching can result in injury that will make your body’s condition worsen.

As the body ages, the structure of your bones and muscles change. If you’re not careful about maintaining a range of motion and activity throughout the day, the body can grow accustomed to stagnation.Stretching is an excellent way to relieve tension, improve the body’s health, and improve posture.

 

Some good flexibility exercises for seniors to do include:

 
  1. Shoulder rolls
  2. Neck rotation
  3. Overhead reach
  4. Leg lifts
  5. Arm raises

The important thing to remember about flexibility exercises for seniors is that they need regularity. That means continually using them with correct form and adequate duration each time.

 

 

At Landmark Senior Living, our goal is to create the utmost in independent living for every one of our senior housing residents. Our independent living program is tailored to each individual’s needs and includes robust daily exercise, yoga, & strength training classes available for senior fitness enthusiasts. Our broad range of activities and events will help you to take care of your mental and physical health.

 

Learn More Here

 

 

Topics: Senior Fitness

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