Assisted Living

Five Tips for Healthy Aging

1. Live an active life

Regular exercise is one of the greatest keys to physical and mental wellbeing. Living an active life will help you stay fit enough to maintain your independence to go where you want to and perform your own activities. Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from many common chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and arthritis, to name a few.

Tips: The key is to stay active, so do something you will enjoy. If you are not the type of person who will stick to a regular gym routine, go on a walk or ride your bike every day instead. Try to incorporate aerobic, balance, and muscle strengthening activities into your routine. Think about what works best for you, consult your doctor, and get moving!

2. Eat healthy foods

The majority of adults in the US consume more than double the recommended daily allowance of sodium, which can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular disease; most of this high sodium intake comes from pre-packaged foods and restaurants.

Tips: Eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Avoid sweet, salty, and highly processed foods. Keep in mind that each person has different dietary needs – follow your doctor's suggestions regarding dietary restrictions

3. Maintain your brain

One in eight older adults (aged 65+) in the United States has Alzheimer's disease, and some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging. Studies have shown that a lifestyle that includes cognitive stimulation through active learning slows cognitive decline.

Tips: Never stop learning and challenging your mind! Take dance lessons, learn a new language, attend lectures at a local university, learn to play a musical instrument, or read a book.

4. Cultivate your relationships

Twenty-eight percent of older adults live alone, and living alone is the strongest risk factor for loneliness. Common life changes in older adulthood, such as retirement, health issues, or the loss of a spouse, may lead to social isolation. At Renaissance, you are surrounded by Members that you can begin to cultivate relationships with every day. 

Tips: Maintain communication with your family and friends, especially after a significant loss or life change. Schedule regular time to meet with friends and family – over coffee, during a weekly shared meal, or around a common interest. Reach out to friends who might be isolated or feel lonely.

5. Get enough sleep

Humans can go longer without food than without sleep. Older adults need just as much sleep as younger adults – seven to nine hours per night – but often get much less. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems.

Tips: Develop a regular schedule with a bedtime routine. Keep your bedroom dark and noise-free— avoid watching television or surfing the internet while in bed. Stay away from caffeine late in the day.

5 Common Questions Adult Children Have About Senior Living

While each family’s situation is unique, many people have the same concerns.

Here are a few of the questions I often hear from families who are just beginning this complex journey:

1. How do I know when it’s time to think about senior care?

If you have any doubts about a particular behavior or you see something that feels like a red flag, it’s a good time to reach out for professional help. Even seemingly small things such as urinary tract infections can cause confusion and memory issues. If your loved one is showing behavior or personality changes or if they seem to be covering up memory issues, then a visit to their physician is warranted. Other telling clues including staying in bed, not wanting to get dressed and evidence of recent falls like bruises or cuts.

2. How do I broach the topic of senior care with my loved one?

Having the conversation about senior care can be difficult for everyone involved.

Seniors are afraid of losing their independence; of being abandoned or feeling as if they are a non-functioning member of society. Many of them picture senior living as an institutional setting where they will end up spending all day in a wheelchair watching television.

This is not what assisted living or independent senior living is about. Once seniors and their families tour communities they are often delighted by the activities, dining and individual apartments. Today’s senior living communities allow residents to come and go as they please, drive their own cars (as long as they are licensed drivers) and live their own lives.

Many adult children become frustrated when their loved ones or parents refuse to accept help or don’t understand that they need help. They may think they are managing just fine without it. A lack of awareness of impairment is common in stroke survivors or people who are suffering from dementia. It can be challenging to reason with people who have some cognitive impairment or with people who are very negative or unwilling to compromise in any way.

3. How do I deal with the guilt?

If they have talked about senior living at all, many adult children have promised their parents that they will care for them or that they will never “put them away.” You may feel guilty when you realize you can no longer care for your parents because of their advanced dementia, physical disabilities or other circumstances. You may even feel like moving them to senior living means you are breaking your promise to them. But, ultimately, by bringing them to a place this equipped to handle their needs and by bringing them to a social space, you are ultimately providing them with exactly what they need- even if they don't know it yet. 

4. What is senior living really like?

Senior living communities offer seniors that chance to stay active, to enjoy relationships and remain independent in a safe and stimulating environment. Renaissance provides restaurant-style dining so residents and their guests feel like they are going out to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are blown away by the quality of the food and the choices offered.

Every community’s goal is to have as active a community as possible. Renaissance includes a cafe, movie theater, parlors, and much more. There are also art classes, exercise classes, book clubs, and yoga classes offered to residents. Transportation is provided for trips to local attractions, events and restaurants.

The only way to know is to visit a senior living community. Chances are you’ll be surprised.

5. How long does it take someone to settle into senior living?

We find that within a month or so of moving to a community most seniors are having so much fun they don’t want to leave! Between the new friends, activities, fantastic staff, and great food, it makes it easy for them to adjust to their new fun surroundings!

Are There Benefits To Moving To An Assisted Living Facility Early?

When choosing a retirement community for yourself or your loved one, there are a lot of factors to consider. Ensuring current health needs are met is important, but will the retirement community be able to meet your future health needs as well?

Learn more information about continuing care and senior care options for seniors, and also about the benefits of moving into assisted living early.

Benefits of Moving Into Assisted Living

As seniors age, their health needs grow and become more complicated. That is why it’s always been important to choose a retirement or senior community that has a continuum of care in place.

According to the NCBI, the “continuum of care is a concept involving an integrated system of care that guides and tracks patients over time through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of intensity of care.”

Historically, seniors were seeking continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), and paying a premium for them to ensure that when they moved into an independent living community they would be guaranteed a future spot should they need to make a move to assisted living later on. With this older CCRC system, seniors were financially locked in because they paid an upfront fee to guarantee their stay and their ability to get that back when they moved was reduced with time.

Some seniors, then, question whether or not it is more affordable to move to an assisted living community from the start, bypassing independent living altogether.

How Assisted Living Communities Provide More Choice and Freedom to Seniors

Most areas across the United States have a variety of retirement communities to choose from and these communities offer a continuum of care, ensuring their health services are designed to meet seniors needs. Renaissance is one of these places in your community! The days of long waiting lists are gone, giving seniors greater flexibility and choice.

Now, seniors can enter an independent living community that meets their needs in terms of amenities, price and location without worrying about whether they will find a spot in an assisted living community should they need one. They can cross that bridge when they come to it.

Increase in Homecare Services within Assisted Living

According to Willis, another change in the industry that has resulted in greater flexibility for seniors is the increase in home care services within independent care communities. “Anyone can bring in in-home care and it is your right to do that as your needs change.” Willis says.

For seniors who have made strong relationships with the staff and other residents at their independent living communities, in-home care allows them to stay in their community as long as possible, remaining connected to their support system. In fact, these relationships contribute to a senior’s emotional well-being and can often help delay the need to move to an assisted living community.

In short, it doesn’t make sense to move into an assisted living community until your health needs require that extra level of assistance.

Instead, seniors should look for a community that meets their present emotional, physical and social needs. With this flexibility, a senior’s continuum of care is more adequately addressed.