If you have ever heard the advice to, “Never get old,” that is the attitude Healthy Aging Month was designed to reverse. Healthy Aging Month was first celebrated in 1992 when people born in the 1940s were turning 50. The goal was to help people entering their Golden Years to celebrate those years, rather than dread them. Healthy Aging Month aims to do this by encouraging people to eat right and exercise at all stages of life, but especially as they get older. The idea is that aging healthy leads to graceful aging, and that is what we are all about here at Stillwater Senior Living.
September has been designated as “Healthy Aging Month,” and while we encourage people to maintain a healthy lifestyle all year long, we do have some ideas as for celebrating healthy aging this month.
Set Health Goals
Who says January is the only month for setting goals to change your life? When it comes to your health and well-being, we think September is a great time to develop new habits that will help you feel better all year long.
Losing weight is one of the most common health goals we hear about, but it is far from the only important metric of health. It is equally important to build up your muscle mass, improve your flexibility and balance, and keep track of your numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) Once you know what your goals are, you can create a plan that will get you there.
Get an Accountability Partner
Regardless of the goal you are trying to achieve, if you get an accountability partner, you are significantly more likely to achieve your goal than if you do not have an accountability partner.
So whether you are trying to eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol, or exercise more, getting an accountability partner to participate in (or avoid) those activities with you can help you make progress towards your goals. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, or just feel better, there is no doubt that doing it with a buddy is not only more effective, but also more fun.
Do Not Forget About Mental Health
Mental health often takes a back seat to physical health, but not only are the two equally important, they also tend to go hand in hand. If your physical health is suffering, chances are good your mental health will suffer as well, and vice versa.
So it does not always make sense to focus on your physical health if your mental health needs your attention right now. That could mean anything from therapy to gardening.
In addition to reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, gardening has also been shown to improve mood, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of depression.
If gardening is not your thing, try learning a new board game, taking dance classes, or learning pottery. All are great activities that, in addition to improving your mood, will improve your cognitive abilities, which is even more important as you age.
At Stillwater Senior Living, we are committed to the health of our residents, which is why we like to celebrate health all year long. But there is something special about Healthy Aging Month. If you would like to share with us your tips for healthy aging, we are all ears. You can either fill out our form or find out how to reach us directly here.
The short answer is yes. Of course, residents can maintain their privacy in assisted living. Nevertheless, many people continue to worry about losing, not only their independence in assisted living, but their privacy.
We have already covered on this blog how residents can maintain their independence in assisted living, so now let us debunk the myth that moving into assisted living means giving up your privacy.
Maintaining the dignity of our residents is of the utmost importance to us, and you cannot have dignity if you do not have privacy. We have 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments to accommodate our residents’ budgets and personal preferences. Some people like having a room all to themselves while others prefer to have a roommate.
Our staff is well trained to be available whenever our residents need them while respecting the privacy and personal space of our residents. Staff will never enter a resident’s apartment without their permission, and they will not provide any assistance without first confirming the resident’s express permission to do so.
Following the Law
Not only is it our personal philosophy to provide our residents with as much dignity and privacy as possible, we are also legally required by Illinois law to respect their privacy at all times, especially when they are being examined or given medical care.
This includes the same right to confidentiality of their medical records afforded to any patient being provided with medical care.
Your medical records and information are yours alone and we will not share them with any unauthorized person.
Not only are residents able to keep their personal property in assisted living, they are encouraged to take it with them when they move into one of our apartments. Being surrounded by familiar objects makes the transition to assisted living that much easier, especially if the person is struggling with some form of dementia. Having familiar objects at hand can help ground the person struggling with dementia and prevent confusion.
Making Life Easier, Not Harder
The goal of assisted living is just that: to provide assistance so residents can continue living life to its fullest. We strive to make things easier for our residents, not harder, and of course that includes maintaining their privacy.
If you have any questions about how our staff at Stillwater Senior Living maintains our residents’ privacy, we are always happy to schedule some time with you so we can answer all your questions and put your mind at ease. You can schedule a meeting with us here.
Moving is never easy, and it can be especially stressful if you have a loved one who needs to move into assisted living. In addition to the usual stressors associated with moving (packing up your entire life, moving it to another building, unpacking and arranging it all), there are some things that are unique to moving into assisted living. There are also some things that can make the process take longer, so let us talk about what to expect when moving into assisted living.
Most assisted living communities have a waiting list, so do not make the mistake of assuming you can move into any assisted living community you want as soon as you or your loved one is in need of assisted living. Instead, you need to have an action plan in place before you need assisted living.
Things to consider include where you want to live – in the area you live now, or closer to your kids or siblings who live in another state? Or maybe you want to spend your golden years in a warmer climate. The farther you currently are from the assisted living community you want to move into, the more planning will need to go into the moving process to make sure you have everything you need.
Once you have identified the assisted living community you want to live in, ask about their wait list. Just like with a restaurant waiting list, they can give you an estimate of how long it might take for them to have a vacancy, but it might end up taking more or less time than they anticipate.
Most people moving into assisted living are moving into a much smaller space than the one in which they have been living for decades – maybe even their whole lives. That calls for a considerable amount of downsizing.
The best way to downsize is to go through all your possessions and divide them into three categories: Keep; Donate: and Trash. Once you have gotten rid of everything you want to donate and throw away, you might need to further divide the Keep pile into the items going with you into assisted living and those going into storage.
Since it is unlikely you will move into a larger home after assisted living, you might want to consider taking the items you would normally put into storage and instead distribute them to your closest friends and family. That way they can always lend them to you if you need to borrow them. Otherwise, you know they have a good home.
Adjusting to Life in Assisted Living
Living in a new place always requires an adjustment, but that adjustment might take a little longer for those moving into assisted living. Not only do they have to get used to a new place, they have to get used to their fellow residents and the idea of accepting help from staff.
While the goal of assisted living is to help residents continue living a life as normal as possible for as long as possible, just having someone around to help at all times can be different enough from what residents are used to that it can take a while to adjust.
If your loved one is having a hard time getting used to assisted living, encourage them to give it time and to keep an open mind. If they decide they are going to have a bad experience, then they will have a bad experience no matter what the assisted living staff does to help them. But if they decide to have a good experience, they just might have the time of their lives.
If you have any other questions about easing the transition to life at Stillwater Senior Living, we are always happy to chat. Just reach out now to start the conversation.
Moving is always a challenge, but it can be especially difficult when you are getting ready to move into assisted living. You have to go through the usual process of deciding what to take with you and what to get rid of, but it can be harder to decide what you will and will not need when you are not just moving into a new home, but moving into a community with staff to help take care of you, and neighbors close to your age.
To help you with the process of getting ready to move into assisted living, we came up with a checklist you can use when selling your home.
Find an Experienced Real Estate Agent
Any time you are buying or selling real estate, you need an experienced real estate agent. A lot of real estate agents specialize in certain kinds of buyers, such as couples buying their first home or moving into a larger home as their family expands. Similarly, a lot of real estate agents specialize in helping older Americans downsize after the kids have moved out, so when you are interviewing real estate agents, make sure you have one who has experience with helping their clients downsize.
Of course, the next step is going to be to start downsizing – or “rightsizing” as some people like to call it. You will not have as much space in your assisted living apartment as you have in your home, so think carefully about the things you want to keep and the things you want to toss or donate. You should also consider getting a storage space where you can keep things you might need later, but don’t need to have on hand on a daily basis.
Talk to Your Financial Planner
Buying and selling real estate is always a big deal, financially speaking, so your financial planner should be involved. You might want to consider options such as using the funds from the sale of your home to pay for some or all of your assisted living expenses. A financial planner can help you make the most of your money, so you never have to worry about running out.
Stage Your Home for Buyers
Setting up a comfortable home you want to live in is different from setting up a home in such a way that other people want to live there. Staging your home to make it as attractive as possible to prospective buyers involves making the most of the space and light so it looks as big and airy as possible. You also want to make sure it looks lived in, but that it does not show any personality so prospective buyers can easily imagine themselves living there.
These are all things a good real estate agent should be able to help you with, so be sure to consult with them.
Enjoy Your Assisted Living Community
Once you have finally sold your home and moved into assisted living, you can just, sit back, relax, and enjoy your new assisted living community. At Stillwater Senior Living, we work hard to make sure all our residents are as comfortable as possible, while helping them remain as independent as possible.
If you are curious about all the ways we help our residents, we would love to hear from you. You can reach out now to start the conversation.
Just like schools needed to be expanded in the 1950s and 1960s as the baby boomer generation reached school age, now assisted living communities have had to expand and create waitlists to account for the surge in people applying to live in assisted living. This increase in demand can make it harder for you to get a space in your preferred assisted living community, so we are going to give you some tips you can use to give you a leg up on the competition when applying for assisted living.
1) Start Early
Most people want to avoid thinking about moving into assisted living until they have reached the point where they are no longer able to take care of themselves, but at that point it is already too late. If you wait until you need assisted living before you start researching your options, you will be forced to move into whichever community has a space for you, which may or may not be your first choice.
Alternatively, you might have to move in with a family member or hire a home aid to help you while you wait to get off the waiting list.
2) Get Your Medical Documents Ready
Assisted living is different from a retirement community in that it is designed to help those who need help with daily tasks. It could be reminding them to take their pills, helping with cooking and cleaning for those with arthritis, or help with hygiene for those suffering from dementia.
As a result, assisted living communities often review your medical history and will probably conduct their own assessment of your physical and cognitive abilities to determine the level of care you need. Be prepared for the assessment and have all your papers in order when you are getting ready to apply because that will make the process go that much more smoothly.
3) Create a List of Questions to Ask the Staff
To make sure you end up in your preferred assisted living community, it is important to know what you want in an assisted living community. Location is important, but there are other factors, such as whether you can take your pet with you, the types of activities they offer, etc. Know what your qualifications are and have a list of questions ready to ask the staff so you can make sure it is a place where you want to live for the foreseeable future.
At Stillwater Senior Living, we know we are not the right fit for everyone, but we would love to see if we could be the right fit for you. If you have any questions about what it is like to be one of our residents, just reach out to schedule a tour.
Most people are aware of arthritis as a common symptom of aging, but did you know there are different types of arthritis? They all have different causes and symptoms, so if you think you or a loved one might be suffering from arthritis, it is best to have an idea of the different types of arthritis before you jump to any conclusions about what might be causing your arthritis or the best way to move forward.
Keep in mind that a blog post does not constitute medical advice. The best course of action is always to consult with your doctor so they can perform an exam and provide you with a diagnosis.
Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage in the joint begins to break down, causing the bones to rub against each other when the joint is used. This can be extremely painful, and is the most common reason for older Americans to lose mobility as they age.
Osteoarthritis is most common in the hands, hips, and knees, but is by no means limited to those joints. Any joint that has been used frequently over a long period of time can be susceptible to osteoarthritis. After all, it is called “wear and tear” arthritis for a reason.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in the body. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system primarily attacks the joints, usually the hands, wrists, and knees. It is common for several joints to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis all at the same time.
Because it is an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis tends to cause the affected joints to become inflamed as the body tries to flood the area with white blood cells. This damages the joint tissue and can cause chronic pain in the affected joints, and even cause them to become misshapen, especially if left untreated for a long period of time.
In addition to the joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect various organs in the body, including the lungs, heart, and eyes.
Rather than targeting just the joints, fibromyalgia causes pain all over the body. Sleep problems are another common symptom of fibromyalgia, but in many cases, it is not a separate symptom, but rather a result of the chronic pain keeping the person awake throughout the night. Fatigue and emotional and mental distress, including depression and anxiety, are also common symptoms of fibromyalgia, but they also tend to go hand-in-hand with sleep deprivation. In most cases, if the patient can be cured of their pain and allowed to sleep, the other symptoms tend to vanish.
We still do not know exactly what causes fibromyalgia, but the good news is there are ways to manage it.
Gout is another type of arthritis caused by inflammation, and it usually only affects one joint at a time. Gout is most commonly experienced in the joint of the big toe, and is characterized by flare ups of intense pain, followed by periods of remission in which little-to-no pain is experienced.
There is no cure for gout, but it can be managed with medication and a diet that is low in alcohol and rich foods.
At Stillwater Senior Living, we provide a wide range of aid levels to make sure our residents have the level of care they need, while leaving them the independence to perform their own daily tasks whenever possible. If you or a loved one is suffering from a form of arthritis and you think it might be time for assisted living, we would love to have a conversation with you.
Moving is always hard, but moving from independent living into assisted living provides its own, unique challenges. From the misconception that assisted living means giving up your freedom, to the idea of living in a community rather than an independent house or apartment, getting your loved one used to the idea of assisted living is not always easy.
But there are ways you can make it easier, both on yourself and on your loved one. These three tips provide a great starting point when it comes to making your loved one feel at home in assisted living.
1) Include Them in the Process
No one likes to be transplanted from their home into a new place without any warning or say in the matter. Not only does this mean you need to have conversations with your loved one about moving into assisted living before the move-in date, you also need to include them in the process of getting ready to move in.
This means consulting with them about downsizing. What do they want to take with them into assisted living, what do they want to donate, and what do they want to put in storage?
When it comes to setting up their apartment in assisted living, let them choose where to put which pieces of furniture and how to decorate their apartment. They know what will make them feel most comfortable, and if they have a say in setting up their apartment to their liking, they will have a much easier time settling in.
2) Bring Things from Home
It might be tempting for some people to “start fresh” in assisted living by buying new furniture and new décor, but that is the wrong approach to take with assisted living. By including furniture and décor from your loved one’s previous home, you will help them feel more comfortable by surrounding them with familiar objects.
If you have ever had trouble sleeping in an unfamiliar place, you know how hard it can be to feel comfortable in a new place. By surrounding your loved one with familiar objects, you help make their new home feel like home, which will make the transition so much easier.
3) Visit Early and Often
Nothing makes a place feel like home like having loved ones around, so the more you can visit, the better your loved one will adjust. You can also include pictures of yourself and other friends and family members in the décor so your loved one will feel like you are always close by. When you are unable to make a physical visit, phone calls, video calls, and postcards are a great way to stay connected.
Most older Americans worry about feeling isolated and disconnected from friends and family, especially when they need to move into assisted living. By staying present in your loved one’s life as much as possible, you can fight those feelings of isolation, and that will go far towards helping them adjust to their new life in assisted living.
As an assisted living provider, we have no shortage of ideas for helping older Americans feel comfortable about moving into assisted living. These three tips just scratch the service, so if you need more ideas or resources, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to chat.
The uncertainty that comes with moving into assisted living is one of the reasons it can be so hard to convince loved ones to make the move. In addition to the fact that change is always hard, especially when it requires leaving home, not knowing how long your new home will be your home creates an additional layer of stress for those moving into assisted living.
To help relieve some of that stress, we are going to explain how long most people stay in assisted living, as well as some of the most common reasons residents choose to move out of assisted living.
The Average Length of Stay in Assisted Living
The average length of stay in assisted living is about 28 months according to a report that was published jointly by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. Keep in mind that “average length of stay” means some people spend less than 28 months in assisted living, while others spend more time in assisted living.
It is also important to note that some people might spend a year or two in one assisted living community before moving to another assisted living community. Whether they move to be closer to family or because they need certain services their first assisted living community did not provide, they might not spend all their time in assisted living in the same community.
Men and Women in Assisted Living
Another important thing to keep in mind is that women tend to live longer than men, which means women are more likely to spend more time in assisted living. According to the Administration on Aging, the average woman needs long-term care services for 3.7 years, while the average man needs long-term care services for only 2.2 years.
Keep in mind that “long-term care services” covers more than just assisted living. It also includes care provided within the home and nursing homes.
Reasons for Leaving Assisted Living
Most residents in assisted living will eventually need a higher level of care, which is the primary reason for leaving assisted living. That could mean moving from an assisted living community that does not provide specific services, such as memory care, to one that does. Or it could mean moving from assisted living to a nursing home, which provides a higher level of medical care than assisted living.
At Stillwater Senior Living, we wish all our residents could stay with us forever, but we also know every time a resident moves on it gives us a chance to love and care for a new resident. If you have any questions about the experiences of our residents here at Stillwater Senior Living, we are always happy to chat. Just reach out to get the conversation started.
Moving from one home to another is always a big change, so it is no surprise that moving into assisted living makes an even bigger impact on your life. Not only are you changing your living quarters, but you are also moving into a new community and accepting care for certain health challenges. Before making the decision to move (or move your loved one) into assisted living, it is important to first make sure you qualify for assisted living.
While this article is no substitute for a medical exam, if you are experiencing any of the challenges below, it might be time to consider moving into assisted living.
Declining health is one of the main reasons people move into assisted living, specifically the health challenges that come with aging. While hospitals are there to help people with severe, short-term health challenges, assisted living is designed to help people live better and live longer with the long-term health challenges we all face as we get older. That could be anything from dementia to arthritis.
Difficulty Performing Daily Tasks
Assisted living is exactly what it sounds like: assistance with daily living. Any time an older American is having trouble completing daily tasks, whether it is cooking, cleaning, or even maintaining their own hygiene, it is time to consider assisted living. We can take care of all those tasks for them so they can continue living their best life for as long as possible.
Memory is Slipping
Assisted living is not the same as memory care, but many assisted living communities do offer memory care for residents who need it. If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, but still able to do most things for themselves (or there is a history of dementia or Alzheimer’s in your family so you are worried about them developing symptoms later on), you might want to consider an assisted living community that offers memory care.
Your Doctor Has Conducted an Assessment
While assisted living does not include as much medical care as a nursing home, much less a hospital, it does offer some help with the challenges of aging. In most cases, you will need a healthcare professional to administer an assessment to determine if you are eligible for assisted living. The assessment should take into account things like mobility, memory, and fine motor skills. If you suspect your loved one might be in need of memory care, that would require a separate assessment to be conducted, either by their doctor or by a member of an assisted living community’s staff.
Deciding whether assisted living is right for you is just the first step. Choosing the right assisted living community is another matter entirely. If you have been thinking it might be time for assisted living, but you are not sure where to start, we would love to have a conversation with you to discuss your options.
Some of the services offered in assisted living vary between assisted living communities, but there are some basic services you will find in every assisted living community. In this article, we are going to start with the basics and then go into some of the more specialized services that you will find at Stillwater Senior Living, but you will not necessarily find in every assisted living community.
Cooking and Cleaning
Help with cooking and cleaning is a basic service of assisted living. Most people move into assisted living because they are having trouble keeping up with the daily tasks of living. Whether it is cooking, washing dishes, or folding laundry, any time someone is having trouble performing one or more of the basic tasks of daily living, they are a good candidate for assisted living.
Supervising medications is another reason a lot of people move into assisted living. Many of us need to take more prescription medications and dietary supplements as we age and our bodies do not function like they used to. All those medications come with specific instructions: they need to be taken at certain times of the day, and some need to be taken with food while others need to be taken on an empty stomach.
It is a lot for anyone to keep track of, but especially those of us struggling with minor confusion. That is why supervising medications to make sure you take everything when it needs to be taken and you do not accidentally take a medication twice or mix medications that should never be taken together is one of the biggest benefits of assisted living.
Organizing Recreational and Social Activities
Another big benefit of assisted living that most people do not know about is organizing recreational and social activities. We know that living your best life involves much more than making sure the dishes are washed and the laundry is folded. It also involves a rich social life and assisted living is great at getting residents to interact with each other in fun ways. Whether you are passionate about music, arts and crafts, or exercise, an assisted living community is sure to have something for you.
Losing access to transportation is something everyone worries about as they age and they have trouble driving, whether because from physical or mental health challenges. That is why assisted living communities offer help with transportation so their residents can get where they need to go.
At Stillwater Senior Living, we offer parking for our residents who are still able to drive. For those who are unable to drive, we can arrange transportation for them.
Looking your best is often the key to feeling your best, which is why most assisted living communities include an on-site beauty salon.
Wearable Tech for Safety
Maybe someday we will live in a society where everyone has smart watches, but for now they are still pretty rare, especially for older Americans. But smart watches have some great benefits – namely that they allow you to call for help in an emergency if you can not reach your phone.
We have taken the best of both worlds by giving our residents watches and necklaces they can use to call for help if they need it. All they have to do is push a button, and one of our attentive staff members will come running to their aid.
Memory care involves specialized services from a staff that has been trained to provide memory care. As a result, not all assisted living communities offer memory care services, so if you are considering assisted living and you think your loved one might be in need of memory care services at some point, you might want to look for communities that offer memory care services so you will not have to move your loved one twice.
At Stillwater Senior Living, we are committed to going above and beyond for our residents. If you are interested, you can view our full list of services, and if you have any questions, please do not. hesitate to reach out.