CarePatrol is committed to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Read the full letter from our Co-Founder and President here

Independent Living is a great option for individuals in need of managed care, but are still able to maintain a healthy and independent lifestyle. Let the experience of your Senior Care Advisors help you better understand if this is the right option for you.

Senior Living Communities in the Future

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented times for us all. While the end of this era is uncertain, its lasting effect on our senior living communities is apparent. 

As seniors are an at-risk group for the pandemic, many senior living communities around the world are changing their daily operations to prevent the spread of the disease. While making these changes, providers are realizing that they must design future senior living communities with the same procedures in mind so that they can maximize the safety of their communities. 

More Intimate Senior Housing 

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many senior living communities are opting for meal delivery and in-room entertainment instead of large group gatherings. These practices can actually help control other health concerns like the yearly flu. More providers are planning to incorporate community designs that facilitate socializing and dining in smaller groups. Compartmentalization and separating levels of care within larger campuses are strategies that will be present in future senior living communities so that these communities can better avoid major disruptions. 

Room Design

While communities may not be specifically designed for quarantine, there will likely be a push for units that are better for sheltering in place. For example, providing ample private access to the outdoors immensely helps the mental health and overall wellness of people during a pandemic, so this may become critical in the room design of future senior living spaces. 

Technology 

Technology is majorly shaping the way we are planning for future senior living communities. Seniors and the providers are both embracing technology even more as a result of the pandemic. Remote communication tools are important for staying in touch with family, friends, and medical professionals. Virtual socialization is essential for combating the loneliness and depression that many seniors deal with. Telemedicine is also in the foreseeable future and is an excellent option for seniors who are unable to leave for regular visits. 

Finding Senior Living Communities in the Future

Senior living communities are rapidly adjusting to keep COVID-19 at bay and protect its residents. The providers are learning new practices that could keep senior living centers safer and more protected for smaller health concerns like the annual flu, and many of these practices will be built into future senior living communities. While the future of senior living communities is different, what you can expect from CarePatrol will remain the same. We are 100% committed to helping all seniors find the ideal living environment for their personal needs. At no cost to you, we will perform a detailed assessment and match you with the best senior living community for you. Head HERE to find your local CarePatrol senior advisor. 

WHAT IS INDEPENDENT LIVING?

What is an Independent Living facility?

I was having a conversation with my kids last week, and while they have always known that I help people find the best living situations for their loved ones, they didn’t really know what these communities that I work with were like. They had no idea what “Independent Living” or “Assisted Living” meant. In our honest conversation I came to the conclusion that they were intimidated by the thought of them. I realized if my kids are intimidated by them, I can only imagine what others might feel, so I want to give some general education on them. This week, I am going to break down what an independent living facility is like, and who will find the most value in joining this type of community.

What it is Independent Living like for my loved one?

Simply put, independent living is there for those who don’t want to be alone. Seniors may have lost a spouse and perhaps their children have moved away, so there is the absence of community. The results of living alone can also mean that physically taking care of a home can become too strenuous. In this case, an independent living community can be an amazing provision. These types of communities allow for one to continue to live entirely independently with the added benefit of being with others in the same situation. They provide a personal apartment, with one or two bedrooms, along with their own kitchen and laundry room, while also giving the added choice to eat with friends in a community dining room with prepared meals. With the freedom to come and go whenever the residents choose, there are no living restrictions. The primary goal of independent living is community.

What is the facilities role in Independent Living?

An independent living community is not a medical facility. These communities do not administer medications or give treatments. However, they are a place where multiple eyes are watching your loved ones, and can give valuable feedback on how they are doing when you cannot. Most provide security, and will alert you if they see a change in patterns or behaviors in the resident. These “apartment style” communities are a great preparation and stepping stone for someone who may some day require assisted living. Independent living is a wonderful option and the perfect solution for many. They are a place where one can still absolutely maintain a high standard of living.  

 What is the families role in Independent Living?

The family bears the responsibility in an independent living setting to make sure that the resident is continuing to stay healthy. It is advised that the family plays an active role in making sure that medications are staying current and that the resident is continuing to seek medical attention if necessary. If this becomes a strain on the family, non-medical care can be hired to help the resident continue to maintain their quality of life. The cost for these living communities can be very similar to that of retirement communities. They normally range from anywhere between $1300-$4000 per month, and many times include the meals for the resident. This solution can certainly add peace of mind, knowing that your loved one is in the safe environment of an independent living community. While still being able to maintain their personal freedom, and neighboring those who are like them, your loved one will be safely doing every day life around those who care. 

If you would like to learn more about independent living, or perhaps even to see some of our amazing communities here in the East Valley, I would love to connect with you. Feel free to contact me!

Alternatives to Aging

 

The concept of time means our lifespan will continue to be measured in years, days, and months, but aging is a totally separate subject.  In 1513,  Ponce de Leon showed up in Florida looking for the fountain of youth, and many before and after him also sought the elusive ability to get younger. Transparency Market Research says the anti-aging industry totals over $2 BILLION worldwide. This article is not about looking younger, it is about your ability to have a quality life and extend your longevity as a result. It can start today.

Program your vision of getting older, regardless of your number of years on earth. A Yale study found aging well translated into seven more years, primarily from attitude and lifestyle changes. That is the alternative to aging, embracing the additional time for a purpose. A traditional lifestyle in the USA has a career followed by retirement. IF retirement removes your purpose for being, reduces your social involvements, and does not include MORE exercise and nutritional focus, it can be viewed as a contagious disease.

Vitality, purpose, fulfillment, goals, movement, and wellness is attitudinal. Using the knowledge and maturity you’ve achieved to help others, gets included in the recognition of more value, not diminished physical or cognitive ability. How you look and feel and the environment you choose to be in is the key. Ageism includes a negative self-perception as well as negative stereotypes from others. Ingrained beliefs affect how our bodies react to the world around us as well. A false belief that youthfulness is better can result in self-sabotaging daily activities.

A recent study from The Gerontologist claims ageism adds $63 BILLION to healthcare expense in the country each year.  Being discriminated against due to age can be as subtle as being talked down to or being denied investigative procedures that could help avoid diseases.  A holistic view of our daily life includes spiritual, mental, physical, housing, nutrition, recreation, and transportation. The mundane activities of cleaning, laundry, cooking, yardwork, repairs, and driving back and forth to various doctor’s appointments do not help.

Thriving can best be achieved with a plan to address all of life’s challenges and joys, regardless of your number of years on the planet. An entire industry has sprung up in the past few decades to provide environments for thriving. Independent Living handles all the mundane activities giving you time to do what is really important. For those whose bodies require some assistance with activities of daily living, Assisted Living Communities create cruise-ship type atmospheres and add hands-on help as needed. Your CarePatrol advisor can show you locations appropriate for an alternative to aging.

 

When You Need Help

In June 2013, I found myself needing to move my dad from the Independent living facility that he had been living in for almost 2.5 years to a higher level of nursing. I needed to move him in a relatively short amount of time, because his health was declining, and I was getting ready to go on an extended trip outside of the country.

Quickly, I found out that I had no idea what I was doing, who to contact, or where to go. So, I googled, and quickly came across one of Care Patrol’s competitors. I filled in a form on the website. Next thing I knew- in less than 30 seconds, I got the first call. In the first three days, I got over 20 calls. My name had been given to everyone in the area. I was also given a list of the places in the area, and basically let loose. Great. I got a bazillion phone calls, even more emails, and a list. Fantastic. Also, not very helpful. I was pretty much in tears by that point.

So, I picked up the phone and started calling. It turns out that my dad actually needed an even higher level of care than I knew. So, none of the places whose information I had been given were a suitable match. Most of them wouldn’t allow my dad to keep his caregivers. Some wouldn’t take a 2 person transfer or a hoyer lift transfer. And very few would allow him to keep his cats.

I kept dialing until I found a place to move him, toured, and moved him in. I got lucky. I had resources, and I eventually found a place to move him, but I will say that the month of June was frantic to say the least.

On the day I was returning from my trip, my father passed away. I had some serious time to reflect on what I wanted to do with life, and where I was going, since I had graduated from Duke with my MBA in May. I decided to purchase the Care Patrol Franchise because I wanted to ensure that others didn’t have to endure the confusion and insanity that was the time where I was looking for a place for my dad.

What Does a Senior Placement Service Do?

 

Two years ago, I got the unwanted news that my dad needed to move to a place where he could get a higher level of care—the independent living community he had lived in for three years was no longer enough for his needs. He needed to move to an assisted living or memory care facility, and he needed to move quickly.  Because of the deterioration in his health, he had developed a need for two person transfers (for instance, being moved from bed to a wheelchair).

I wanted to make sure that the transition would include his caregivers, who had been with him around the clock, and his two cats. I was determined to make sure he would get the best possible care for his needs and wishes—not just any place would do.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know much about retirement communities in my area, and I found myself suddenly needing to tour many of them to figure out which ones would work for Dad.   I didn’t even know which retirement communities there were in my area and had absolutely no idea where to start.  I quickly came to realize that I needed to look at cost, care, violation histories, what the residents think, their activities, what kind of food is served and things like whether a community is friendly to a single male.  There are so many things that can happen when family isn’t there to directly oversee and manage care all the time. I needed someone to help me navigate the waters and decide exactly where he was going to go.  In short, I needed a company like CarePatrol.

That’s what led me to become part of CarePatrol in 2013.  I recognized the great need for assistance among those seeking to find a safe, appropriate place to live for themselves or a loved one. Trying to find the right choice for a retirement care community is absolutely daunting.  There are over 350 communities in the CarePatrol of the Triangle territory alone.  These facilities serve a wide variety of needs.  Of those 350, about five were possible matches for Dad’s care needs and other requirements.  Of those, only one had availability.  I had to go fishing and hope to find the right community—it was very much like trying to drive a car down the highway while blindfolded.

These days, the CarePatrol of the Triangle team helps families navigate a wide variety of needs to find the right community.  We know which communities have beds available, what the care and violation histories of the communities are, and we know how they treat their clients. We get to know the communities we work with as well as the families we help. That way, we can make recommendations that fit the family and meet their health, safety, and financial needs.

Once we’ve met with a family and performed an in-depth care discovery, we recommend three or four communities. Then we take the family on tours of those places.  If they want to look at more communities, we will do that. It’s funny how families frequently come back to one of the first communities we’ve shown them.  It’s not really surprising though—we are placement experts, and we really know the strengths and weaknesses of the different communities.  We understand the personalities of each community, and have a good idea for where someone would be a good fit.

Once a family has chosen a particular community, we can help negotiate a contract and facilitate the moving process. We work as a guide and advocate to help the entire move go as smoothly as possible.

Once the move is complete, our work isn’t complete. We follow up with families to see how they’re doing.  We make sure that clients get the service they need and are well taken care of.  We care about them for life.