Assisted Living Documentary

Assisted Living DocumentaryEver wondered what it’s like living in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF)?  Dick Weinman, professor Emeritus at Oregon State University pulls back the curtain in a new assisted living documentary entitled “The Thin Edge of Dignity”.  Dick say’s “It takes a village to accompany the elders on the final journey of life.  But in today’s fragmented and mobile society, families no longer live together in a single household.  Once it took a village… Today it takes an ALF.”  This no-holds-barred exposé is an emotional roller coaster, and gives us a view that few outsiders get to see.

Boomers, I sense this is a call for a mobilization.  One of Dick’s goals is for a “cultural shift in long term care” and after watching this assisted living documentary you may want to join the brigade.

“An independent man of 80 years, disabled in a traffic accident, who strives to maintain his independence enclosed in the world of dependency of an Assisted Living Facility” – Dick Weinman

The Thin Edge Of Dignity – By Richard Weinman

Mr. Weinman, was an incredibly active broadcaster until injured in a tragic 2005 auto accident.  Dead at the scene, he was resuscitated and “put back together”.  He currently writes a column for AARP Oregon aptly entitled The Thin Edge of Dignity.  Dick’s column is a bi-monthly column featuring “an independent man of 80 years, disabled in a traffic accident, who strives to maintain his independence enclosed in the world of dependency of an Assisted Living Facility”.

Let us know what you think of Richard (Dick) Weinman’s Assisted Living Documentary in the comments below.

What Boomers Look For In A Retirement Community

Finding a retirement community: Boomers on computerMedia Post’s Engage Boomers Blog wrote a nice piece on the 5 things boomers are looking for in a retirement community and we thought we’d pass a few of these tidbits along.  There are a few obvious features, and a couple not-so-obvious.

Today’s baby boomers are looking for pet friendliness, spacious living quarters and sustainability (environmentally functional) just to name a few.  Boomers today live active lifestyles, and their not looking to get bogged down!  Lot’s of activities are a must in any modern day retirement community, and a quality food menu is an absolute essential!!!!

The article doesn’t mention it, but it goes without question – staff friendliness, attentiveness and professionalism rank extremely high among the attributes of top retirement communities.  People really do make the difference.  What are you looking for in a top rated retirement community?

Boomers Moving To Cities Out Of Suburbs

Boomers Moving to Cities | Courtesy-of-SalFalkoWhen the kids are out on their own, baby boomers are headed for the city, and away from the suburbs.  Delaware Online reports that affluent boomers are trading in lawn mowing and commutes for easier access to restaurants, shopping and the theater.  For some there’s a bit of sticker shock when it comes to life in the high-rise.  For boomers moving to cities, downsizing is a on the menu.  Going from a 2400 square foot home in the burbs to an 1100 square foot condo downtown doesn’t always mean money in the bank.  For some it means paying through the nose for others it means getting acclimated to using a tax calculator… Living in the city isn’t cheap, but for many it’s worth it.

In July we wrote about the increasing trend of boomers and the money they’re spending on dining out.  It all makes sense… Boomers have the money, many are retiring early (or enjoying semi-retirement), and many are empty-nesters for the first time in a long time!

Click thru to read why the Hoexters and the Solymossys made the move from the burbs to the city life!

Pre-Retirement: Where To Move Before You Retire

Where to move before you retireBefore you retire, you might want to think about a strategy that many boomers are considering and implementing right now.  That strategy is called pre-retirement.  An interesting article in Forbes recently caught my eye.  It was entitled “The Best Cities For Boomers To Pre-Retire“.  Forbes’ notion was that “If retirement is closing in, you might want to move to an alluring metropolitan area where you can work full-time today and then switch to part-time down the road“.  Think of it as a test drive for permanent retirement…

My spellchecker doesn’t recognize the word pre-retirement, and maybe you don’t either.  Our definition of pre-retirement is a strategy of setting yourself up for your later years.  It involves planning and analyzing each of the variables that allow you to live (the life you want to live) in retirement.  Things like; What kind of car do you drive (or want to drive)?  How often can you afford to dine out?  And, where should you live when you retire?

Forbes cited a recent posting from that lists their top 10 “Best Places For Baby Boomers“.  It was based on some pretty smart criteria.  Things like affordability (based on cost of living index), healthcare accessibility, the ability to lead an active social life, and public transportation services.  Here are their top 10 places for baby boomers:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio
  3. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
  4. Baltimore-Towson, MD
  5. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
  6. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY
  7. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  8. St. Louis, MO
  9. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
  10. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA

Make sure to visit Nerdwallet to understand their criteria, and for further information on their top destination cities for boomers.

Senior Placement Agencies Portland Oregon – Finding a Niche

Senior Placement Agencies Portland OregonThis weekend’s Oregonian featured an informative article entitled “Senior placement consultants help clients find care communities that fit their needs“.  It’s a story about how placement and referral services can help families find senior housing, and act as expert liaisons between community and client.  Senior List co-founder Amie Clark (who also owns and operates The Senior Resource Network) was featured in the article, as was colleague Jennifer Cook (with Living Right Senior Placement).  The key to finding the right placement agency is to find an agency that has the best interests of the client at heart.  A placement agency needs to be well informed, aware of state filings, and personnel should be credentialed.  In the Portland metro area, there are over 250 assisted living/memory care facilities and over 1,000 adult care homes to navigate, so having an expert on your side makes all the difference.

Senior Placement Agencies Portland Oregon

“Finding the right fit between our clients and a community makes all the difference in the world” says Clark.  “We do the leg-work for the client ahead of time, like reviewing state records, understanding the level of care provided, and in some cases policing monthly service costs.  Even the little things like how good the food is, or social/recreational services become big things when your loved one moves into a care community.”  Amie and Jennifer are both members of OSRAA, The Oregon Senior Referral Agency Association.  The association regulates local agencies by requiring member agencies be in business for 3 years minimum, AND meet standards and ethics requirements.  Click through to read how placement and referral agencies can help find senior-housing solutions in your local area.

Senior Housing Referral Agencies

Senior Housing Referral Agencies

What Is A Senior Placement and Referral Agency?

A senior housing referral company helps clients locate appropriate senior housing in a given geographic area.  A reputable placement and referral service can save you time and energy in your search for senior housing. They should know which communities can supply appropriate care and be able to refer their client to all types of communities. To validate the reliability of a referral company, ask them if they work only with communities that they have contracts with or if they will also refer you to communities that won’t sign contracts. Also, make sure they have personally toured each of the prospective communities and see if they collect information on both substantiated and unsubstantiated complaints. Finally, when looking for a referral agency, choose one that provides you with a list of suitable living options and will escort you on visits to the properties at your request.

Referral companies who do not charge clients for their services will expect the client to work with them exclusively; Referral companies gather similar information, so there is no need to work with more than one. This type of referral company receives a “finder’s fee” from the community that the client chooses. Other types of senior referral companies may charge for their services at hourly or set rates. When working with a fee-for-service company, make sure to get the charges in writing before you begin the referral process.

When working with a referral company, let them know your needs, preferences, comfort levels, and expectations. Be honest and straight forward. The more information you provide to them, the better they can serve you and find a place that will best suit your needs.

Choosing suitable housing for a loved one is an important decision for you and your family. Utilizing a referral company will help ensure you find a great place.

Moving Parents Into A Nursing Home

moving parents into a nursing homeIn elder or dementia caregiving, one of the hardest decisions to make is to move your loved one out of his or her home (or your home) and into a more institutional setting.  Making the move bearable for your loved one may not always be possible.  They may stand firm… They’re staying put, and that’s that!

It may help with the transition if you can remember some significant changes from your own life when moving parents into a nursing home:

Questions to consider before moving parents into a nursing home:

  • What did it feel like to you as a child when your family moved to a new home in a new location?  Think about those first few days of trying to find your things, especially if some of them had to be left behind.  Try to recall what your emotions were when you went to the new school the first time—all those strangers and you didn’t know anyone.  Did your parents’ logical explanations and promises that “everything will be alright” make any impact on how you felt?
  • What did it feel like as an adult when you went to a new job for the first time?  Managing to learn a lot of new names in a short period of time was stressful, wasn’t it?  The same was probably true of learning new work rules—written and un-written—so that you weren’t creating problems right off the bat.
  • Can you remember what it felt like to give up control of your life when you went into the military or other organization?  You know, when someone else told you what to do and how to do it… You were probably a bit resentful, even if you managed to comply.  Most of us find small ways in which to act out that rebellion—sneaking a forbidden treat, making jokes about the people in charge, etc.

“For emotional preparation, the prospective resident should be involved in as much of the decision-making as possible. Fear of the unknown can make an admission more difficult. Both the caregiver and resident should be able to spend some time in the facility, with the staff, other residents, and other family members until some kind of comfort is developed.”  Peter Silin, MSW, RSW

I think you get the point.  Moving your loved one puts them into the emotional pool I’ve just asked you to swim in.  By answering these questions, you can begin to experience some of what your loved one is experiencing.  This sense of loss of the familiar, confusion in the new place with new people, and new regimes is especially heightened if your loved one is suffering from dementia.

Stretch your imagination far enough to strategize ways to ease the transition and AND the emotional upset it will engender.  There’s a terrific article by Peter Silin, MSW, RSW entitled “Moving Into a Nursing Home: A Guide For Families“.  Take a look at it if you’re in the process, or if you can see this in your future down the road.  It can be a big help in easing the stress for you and your loved one.

Blessings, Joanne

*Photo: Bardaga via flickr

List Of What To Take When Moving Into Assisted Living

List of what to take to assisted living facilityThe Senior Resource Network is a leading placement and referral agency in Portland Oregon.  Amie Clark (owner/operator of The Senior Resource Network, and co-founder of The Senior List) wrote a helpful post entitled “Downsizing To Community Living- what to bring and what to let go”.  It contains some valuable tips on what to take when moving into assisted living (or any other community living facility). Here is a list of what to take into assisting living when you move-in.  Click here for the full article, including a list of what to leave behind when you move into assisted living.

Moving Into Assisted Living

  • Bed- Generally, beds are not furnished (the exception would be an adult care home), unless your insurance is paying for a hospital bed.  Depending on the size of the bedroom, a twin, double, or full-sized mattress is best.  You want to make sure there is plenty of room around the sides of the bed to maneuver safely, especially if other furniture is in the room.  A foot-board and headboard may be desired, depending on the space.
  • Chairs and Sofa
  • Shower curtain and rings- Most communities supply the rod.
  • Towels- Several (2-3)complete sets of towels.  If housekeeping is done weekly, this should be plenty.
  • Sheets- At least two sets, unless the bed is changed frequently, most housekeeping is weekly that includes laundering sheets.
  • Bedspread, blankets, and pillows
  • Laundry Basket
  • Garbage cans- In a retirement or assisted living setting, a small garbage in the bathroom(s) and kitchen area are handy.
  • Clothes Hangers
  • Personal Items & Toiletries- toothpaste, toothbrush, denture products, comb/brush, soap, shampoo, shaving products, incontinence supplies*, glasses, hearing aids.
  • Clock, personal photos, and decorative items- familiar items in your new home, like curtains, artwork, and houseplants can make a world of difference to make your new accommodations feel more like home.
  • Telephone (optional)
  • TV/ Radio
  • Dresser/ Nightstand
  • Clothing- Garments that are washable- commercial washing machines can be very harsh on clothing, I would limit dry clean items, and comfortable for everyday use.  Perhaps a few dressy items for special events.

*Some assisted living communities will assist in ordering incontinence supplies as they may be able to purchase in bulk at reduced prices.

For a list of local placement and referral specialists in your community, check out the agency listings on The Senior List Eldercare Directory.  Be sure to look for ratings and reviews as they can be a helpful tool when deciding who to work with.

best of the senior list assisted living

To visit the “Best Of” in Assisted Living, choose your city below:

Best Assisted Living- Portland, Oregon

Best Assisted Living- New York, New York

Choosing a Care Facility or Home

How to choose a care facility or home

Aunt Florence was recently widowed, and wanted to stay in the home she’d shared for more than a decade with her second husband.  It was isolated and more than two hours drive from her two nephews.  Her own children had disowned her at her remarriage, and they would not even discuss their mother’s care with their cousins. Then there was another really BIG problem:  Florence was clearly suffering from dementia with significant memory loss and paranoia.  In theory, the solution was simple enough—find a senior care facility for Florence.  She insisted however, on staying in her own home.  When she fell and broke her hip, there was no question of her living on her own. The family needed help choosing a care facility or home quickly.

How to Choose a Senior Care Facility or Home

Are you facing a similar dilemma, trying to decide whether to move your loved one, and if so to what type of facility?  Here are some suggestions to help you sort out the choices.  They come from Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions by Paul and Lori Hogan, founders of Home Instead Senior Care.

You are probably trying to make choices between an assisted living facility (ALF) or a nursing facility. Generally, people in an ALF require some, but not a lot of assistance.  In a nursing facility, people like Aunt Florence need more supervision and medical assistance.  ALF residents have a greater degree of independence than in a nursing home.  For the most part, they live in small apartment-like units and are free to set their own personal schedules as they decide.

In both types of facilities, patients are not allowed to be in charge of their own medications.  Those are handled by the staff whether or not the patients are capable of handling them own their own.  This even applies to supplements like vitamins.  Both settings offer opportunities for social interaction and plenty of activities to help keep residents’ minds active.  It’s a benefit of moving your loved one away from an isolated existence at home.  Safety is another reason for choosing a care facility over staying at home.  Falls, like Florence’s, and other emergencies  are all reasons to consider moving your loved one out of his or her home.

Cost is an obvious issue.  Be sure to ask at the facility you’re considering what is included in the monthly fee, and most importantly what is not.  Does your loved one (or you) have the financial resources to stay in a care facility over a long period of time?

Are you prepared for the downside, such as anger and resentment on the part of your loved one at being moved, perhaps against his or her wishes?  An ALF with its small apartments and nursing facility with one-half of a two-bed room don’t allow the patient to bring many possessions with them.

In theory, it’s a good idea to have your loved one’s approval to move him or her to one of these types of facilities, but in reality you may never receive it.  Perhaps the better question to ask is about your ability to continue to provide care and keep your loved one safe and comfortable in the home.  Try to see the issue from the perspective of your health and well-being as well as their comfort and safety.

Finally, be sure to spend time picking the right facility.  Visit more than once and spend time observing how the staff members interact with their patients.  Note sights, sounds and smells.  Keep in mind that there is a wide range in quality of either type of facility.

best of the senior list assisted living

To visit the “Best Of” in Assisted Living, choose your city below:

Best Assisted Living- Portland, Oregon

Best Assisted Living- New York, New York

Genworth Financial Cost of Elder Care

Here at The Senior List we often field calls from clients and other professionals about the cost of elder care across the nation. I am thrilled to share an incredible tool I recently discovered to help answer those questions! The Cost of Care Map has been developed by Genworth Financial, a leading financial security company.

Genworth Financial Cost of Elder care

The Cost of Elder Care Map provides an overlay of each state, citing yearly costs for Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, Adult Day Health Care, Home Health Aide, and Homemaker Services. Some states are even called out by metro region, allowing the user to compare metro areas within particular states. What struck me was the vast differences in costs not only across the states, but even within specific states themselves! The tool is very user friendly and serves as a cold dose of reality to the rising costs of care in all settings.

Here is an example for the state of Oregon:

 Oregon cost of elder care map