How will your actions today have an impact on your future?
The other day I was speaking with one of my clients. He shared with me his decision to buy a condo and not pursue senior housing at this time. Even though he has some chronic medical issues, he said he didn’t feel “ready” to make the move. I asked him what his plans were if his health declined. His answer was typical denial. “My wife will take care of me when this happens.” “Interesting, I said.” “What will happen if your wife needs care before you do?” “If you pass away, who will take care of her?” He said they didn’t think about all of this and asked me to stay in touch with them.
Unfortunately, this conversation is not uncommon. The idea of moving from your house to a senior community is not an easy one, however the ‘ripple effect’ of not doing it a has dramatic impact on you and your spouse’s future. Many of you know my expression about being 5 years too early rather than 5 minutes too late. Throughout my career, I have helped hundreds of families with this decision. 99% of the time, my clients tell me, “Best decision we made, we only wished we would have made it sooner.” The underlying reason people say this is now they have peace of mind for the future. They have a plan in place to protect each other and your family.
In a recent USA Today article, the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warns against the harmful effects of loneliness. This includes depression, dementia, heart disease, obesity, and substance abuse disorders. Click here for the entire article. Life at a senior living community is far from boring and is an excellent way to avoid the pitfalls of loneliness. On-site social programs provide a way to connect with other people. Dining is not only important nutritionally, but also an opportunity to extend your social connection to be with friends and new acquaintances. Studies have shown that you overall well-being will improve by living at a senior living community.
So, instead of saying you’re “not ready,” maybe it is time to embrace this new chapter and creates a positive ripple in your life.
It’s better to be 5 years too early rather than 5 minutes too late
Each month, we will be providing true life scenarios of people who either planned ahead or waited too long. Maybe you know these folks…
Mr & Mrs. Smith are 76/78. Both enjoy an active lifestyle. They enjoy travelling and spending time with their family and friends. Mrs. enjoys cooking but has recently lost interest. They live in a nice home in a gated country club community. They have had some minor health issues in the past, but nothing too serious. Mr. Smith has noticed some memory decline and has been slowing down physically. Mrs. Smith is worried about the future and is concerned that she can not take of their home on her own. The idea of moving is overwhelming to them. The Smiths’ have children scattered around the country. One son in Massachusetts, another in Colorado and a daughter in New Jersey. Moving closer to them is not an option. They have a small dog named Cookie.
The Smiths’ contacted Bruce at Senior Housing Solutions. Bruce met with them and discussed their options including staying at home or moving somewhere. They decided it was time to start the process of looking. The Smiths’ visited a number of places Bruce recommended and consulted with him during the process. Bruce held family conference calls to keep everyone in the loop, joined them on their tours and helped “prep” them for medical review process. Bruce recommended a downsize expert who was able to help the Smiths’ slim down their possessions including getting rid of a storage unit and figure out what to bring to their new home. They were very grateful they contacted Bruce.
The Smiths’ moved to a CCRC last month. The Smiths’ including Cookie are very happy. They have already made some friends and reunited with friends from their former country club. Mrs. Smith started attended Tai Chi classes and Mr. Smith is working out at the community fitness center. Mr. Smith’s memory has worsened. They are relieved he was able to get accepted at this CCRC before things got worse. They remembered Bruce telling them… “it’s better to be 5 years too early rather than 5 minutes too late” and how appropriate this was for them.
Urban myth has it that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will instantly leap out. But if you put it in a pot filled with pleasantly tepid water and gradually heat it, the frog will remain in the water until it boils to death. Allegedly, the frog is not able to detect the gradual increase in temperature until it’s too late.
This is what happens when people stay in their homes too long. They don’t realize the water around them is starting to boil!
COVID-19 – How are Assisted Living communities adapting?
There’s been a number of local and national news stories covering virus concerns at “Nursing Homes”. For the most part, these stories deal with issues at skilled nursing facilities. Still, this has prompted a number of calls asking about the status of Assisted Living properties.
First, let’s do a quick refresher lesson on two types of “licensed” senior living.
SKILLED NURSING – SNF
“Skilled Nursing Facilities” (SNFs) provide medical care and employ nurses 24/7. Many of these SNFs house residents and, generally, accommodate the most frail of our senior population. A typical arrangement in skilled nursing is a shared room with at least two “patients” per room. SNFs are often referred to as long term care facilities. THe majority of Covid19 cases are occurring in SNFs.
ASSISTED LIVING – ALF
Assisted Living communities and homes are licensed as Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) . Heavy medical care is not provided in Assisted Living, although some companies do offer some nurse coverage. In fact, ALF licensing requirements restrict residents who require substantial medical care. In larger communities, a typical living arrangement is a single resident “apartment”, although sometimes the apartment is shared by a spouse. In smaller facilities and memory care, shared rooms are more common.
SO WHAT IS HAPPENING AT ASSISTED LIVING PROPERTIES?
No part of our world has gone untouched by the virus… including Assisted Living. But, the good news here is that Assisted Living providers recognized in early March that significant protection strategies needed to be put into place. The Florida Department of Health Services (http://www.floridahealth.gov) has put out special COVID-19 Guidelines that all ALF facilities must adhere to. In both small homes and large communities, visitation has been strictly controlled. Except for staff, you won’t see many people coming and going. In a way, just like our homes, each property has become an island. Obviously, where possible, social distancing and curtailing of activities has become the norm. Meals delivered to rooms, allows large dining areas to go unused.
New residents are being considered by many of the properties, now. Virtual Tours are common. Of course, there will be questions about exposure and other scrutiny to try to prevent any new infection from entering. A physician’s report and thorough assessment will be required. But, even with expected virus-free residents, they may move into their apartment directly on a quarantine. Visitations will remain restricted for a while.
It is important to know the Assisted Living professionals are taking the safety of residents very seriously.
Please contact Senior Housing Solutions if you are ready to start exploring the move or just want to start the conversation.