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Top Reasons Why Seniors Value Their Independence

May 4, 2022

Many family members struggle to convince their aging parents to consider Evanston senior living. If you’ve tried everything you can to coax them, but you’re still not getting the response you are hoping for, don’t give up just yet. It’s probably because they are afraid of losing their independence. One of the biggest misconceptions about senior living is that they’ll be deprived of independence.

We understand that this can be stressful and frustrating for you. You may be stressed because you know that your parents’ health and safety are at stake if they continue to live at home and feel frustrated that you can’t get them to say YES to your request. But there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. To address their resistance, you must put yourself in their shoes and try to understand why they so badly cling to their independence and why it’s such a big deal for them.

a smiling senior couple at an Evanston Senior Living facility

Seniors and Independence

Why Does the Elderly Value Independence?

Older adults live for independence, and if they feel that this will be taken away from them, they will instinctively and vehemently resist you. They’ve spent years enjoying their freedom to make decisions for themselves, raise families, sustain jobs, and many more. Naturally, they would want to preserve it.

Unfortunately, the effects of aging can make it challenging to live independently. Studies show that the elderly are prone to falls and injuries. In addition, they also have problems with mobility, memory, and behavioral health conditions. Addressing these issues is paramount not only for their safety but also for the family’s peace of mind.

Reasons Why the Elderly Care About Their Independence

#1 Feel Empowered as an Individual

Having the power to decide for yourself can significantly impact how you feel. So, when there comes the point in your life when you can no longer manage to make those decisions, you will feel subjugated. Your elderly parents have lived their entire lives making their own decisions, and when they can no longer do that, they’ll feel angry and depressed.

The good news is that senior living communities will never take away their independence. They encourage senior autonomy, which is why independent living communities allow their residents to personalize their space to give them a sense of familiarity and encourage them to make daily choices like what food to eat and what clothes to wear. These may seem trivial, but they dramatically affect the elderly as it gives them a sense of control over their lives.

#2 Preserve Strength and Balance

Two critical factors that determine a person’s ability to stay independent are strength and balance. Many older adults aim to stay physically active because, aside from the health benefits, it also allows them to enjoy their independence.

Without strength, the aging adult will inevitably lose core balance and muscle mass. When they lose balance and strength, they become vulnerable to falls. Seniors who have succumbed to injuries end up staying in hospitals and rehabilitation centers for a long time, and this could affect their independence.

Maintaining physical strength can help prevent the occurrence of falls that could lead to loss of independence. There are programs intended for the elderly to teach them how to manage falls while building up their confidence, balance, and strength. You can also provide them with mobility devices for additional support.

an elderly couple playing video games at an Evanston Senior Living facility

#3 Provide a Sense of Purpose

Seniors who have lost their independence feel isolated. And when they feel isolated, they begin to develop feelings like depression and hopelessness, which can negatively impact their mental health and reduce their quality of life. For seniors, enjoying their independence gives them a sense of purpose.

They get to have the chance to make valuable contributions to their community, friends, and family and enjoy the activities they have always loved.

Their independence allows them to take on challenges, whether big or small, and they gain a sense of accomplishment when they overcome them. Although seniors’ mobility is already limited due to their age, they can still be able to do activities that help give them a sense of purpose.

#4 Helps Enhance Memory

Did you know that independent living can help improve seniors’ memory skills? As we age, our memory starts to deteriorate gradually. Luckily, independence can help enhance memory skills. Studies show that increased activity levels can boost blood flow to the brain, helping preserve memory. Daily activities can also help promote good memory.

#5 Sense of Control

Aging can change a person’s life dramatically. They cannot control wear and tear. Perhaps the only thing they have control over is their independence. Being able to live independently is something they take pride in because it empowers them. Even though they can no longer do most of the things they used to during their younger years, making decisions for themselves is enough to give them a sense of control. A sense of control gives seniors a feeling of self-worth, which will help enhance their mental health.

#6 Create Positive Relationships

Seniors seem to think that when they are given a caregiver, their independence is stripped away from them. This is far from the truth. An expert caregiver can build a strong and harmonious relationship with the elderly and teach them how to live independently by providing them with all the necessary resources and tools. Just because they have a caregiver doesn’t mean they’ll be entirely dependent. Caregivers can help set up safety features in their homes to prevent falls and injuries and teach them to use gadgets so they can keep in touch with family members.

an elderly woman talking to a caring staff at an Evanston Senior Living facility

Do You Have Questions About Evanston Senior Living?

Even if we want our senior loved ones to continue living the life they are used to, sometimes their age makes this difficult. There may come a time when you’ll need to convince them to consider senior living communities for their health’s sake. Your job is to let them understand what senior living is all about. It will not take away their independence but rather make their lives easier by offering help whenever needed.

At Senior Living Experts, our efficient advisors will work closely with you and your family to help get you the perfect fit. We have worked with more than 230 communities in the Chicagoland area, and we’ve explored a plethora of options to get you what you need. Contact us today to learn more.

Evanston senior living offers tools and other resources that can help build senior independence. Contact us today to learn more.

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Who Qualifies for a Senior Living Facility?

April 4, 2022

If your loved one is struggling to complete everyday tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing, and using the restroom, they qualify for admission to an assisted living facility. If they suffer from memory loss or similar mental health problems, this is a good reason to move them into a retirement home that offers professional around-the-clock care. There are great facilities that provide memory care in the Lincolnwood area. But when is the right time to take advantage of them?  

Talking About Memory Care Lincolnwood

When is it The Right Time?  

When you are no longer capable of meeting the physical demands of your caregiving duties, it’s a sign to make the move into an assisted living facility with nursing services. As tough as this decision may be, your loved one deserves 24-hour care from medical professionals.  

How Can I Make the Right Choice?  

We understand it can be difficult to know which facility is best for your loved one.  

You can meet with an advisor in your area who will help you make the right call. With their expertise, you’ll find a community that has just what your family member needs.  

What Can Senior Living Communities Provide?  

Whether your loved one needs assistance with daily activities, or they’re suffering from chronic health problems, a senior living facility can improve their living situation.  

If your family member is facing memory problems, there are senior living communities that offer memory care in the Lincolnwood region.  

#1 Professional Care 24/7  

As a senior’s mobility worsens, they are going to need physical assistance with everyday tasks. A senior living facility employs overnight caregivers trained to properly care for elderly patients.  

Physical therapists are constantly available to provide the proper medical care for all residents. Some services include caring for wounds, monitoring the resident’s overall health, and managing medications.  

#2 More Spare Time  

More free time is a chance for residents to explore more fulfilling activities. Assisted living facilities offer a variety of hobbies for their residents.  

Some of these include:  

  • Meditation
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Crafting
  • Book clubs  

The senior’s assigned caregiver will narrow down the activities most appropriate for them depending on their physical health. Loneliness and social isolation are highly common amongst senior citizens.  

These daily activities allow residents a chance to socialize with other seniors while exploring their own interests!  

#3 Nutritional Meals  

When living alone, seniors may find difficulty cooking their own meals.  They may not know the exact foods and proportions their body needs to consume.    

At an assisted living facility, the resident’s assigned caregiver will construct an essential meal plan based on the senior’s personal dietary needs.    

#4 Serenity  

Considering all the wonderful perks a senior living facility has to offer, residents can enjoy peace of mind. They don’t have to worry about:  

  • Cooking
  • Diet
  • Safety  
  • Poor hygiene  
  • Feelings of isolation/loneliness  
  • Transportation  

Senior citizens want to live in a world where they can receive the best care and live comfortably. An assisted living facility is the best option to ensure your loved one has a stress-free life.  

Kid Going Down Memory Lane at Memory Care Lincolnwood

Are Assisted Living Facilities Safe?  

A major concern for a senior’s loved ones is security. When they’re unable to provide constant care for their family member, they want the reassurance that they’ll receive the care they need.  

The unfortunate reality is that when people age, their stamina and ability to defend themselves will weaken. They become more prone to falls, accidents, and injuries. In the right facility, there are trained, patient, and skilled staff on duty to ensure the well-being of the residents.  

Assisted living communities are specifically designed for the senior’s convenience. There are safety features incorporated throughout the establishment such as:  

  • Grab bars in showers
  • Toilet safety frames
  • Tub seats in bathtubs

At a senior living facility, residents have constant access to wheelchairs. The establishment’s fully qualified team conducts regular wellness checks to ensure every senior is receiving the proper care.  

Studies have shown that individuals 65 years and over are much more susceptible to falls as opposed to the younger generation. The facility must ensure around-the-clock aid for the senior to avoid such an event.  

Security monitors all entrances and exits 24/7 for the resident’s safety.  

Experts Who Care

When thinking of an assisted living home, many are plagued with the idea that their loved one will face abuse or neglect at the hands of unsuitable staff members.  A slew of upsetting stories has spread over the years, further deterring people from sending their family member to a senior living facility.  

A five-star establishment only hires individuals who are licensed healthcare professionals. A facility that is run by registered nurses and physical therapists is bound to be a healthy environment for seniors, freeing you of your worries.  

What Are Your Options?

Finding the best assisted living for your loved one is possible. It’s all about what you’re looking for. Here are some questions to ask yourself when searching for a quality senior living facility:  

  • Do costs for care increase as services are added?  
  • Will my loved one’s medical team communicate with me effectively?
  • What services should this facility provide to suit my loved one’s needs?
  • Will my loved one be happy and comfortable here?

For the best interest of your family member, it’s important to ask yourself these essential questions. This way, you can make the right decision for your loved one.  

Your family member deserves a senior living facility with well-equipped care providers who understand your concerns. A team with compassion and patience is the key to a high-quality establishment.  

Choose Wisely  

A senior living advisor can offer assistance to your senior living search and can ease the decision-making process. Their specialized experience in the field will land your loved one in the facility best suited for them.  

Care Worker Talks to Senior About Memory Care Lincolnwood

Looking for Quality Memory Care in Lincolnwood?  

Devastatingly, it is highly common for seniors living alone to suffer from falls.  If there’s no one home with them at the time of the incident, they’re unable to get the help they desperately need.  

It’s scary to think about the scenarios likely to happen when the senior is home alone, however, these thoughts cannot be ignored. Considering all the factors at play, the worst-case scenario is completely in the realm of possibility.  

An individual with poor physical or mental health will struggle to function properly on their own. Seeking out the right facility for your loved one is the best course of action. Please call us today for assistance.

Does your loved one qualify for memory care in Lincolnwood? Here’s what you should know. Contact us to learn more!

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Planning Ahead for Expenses Medicare Doesn’t Cover

March 14, 2022

When Americans turn 65 years old, they become eligible for federal health insurance provided by Medicare. Considering health care costs make up the majority of a senior’s expenses, Medicare coverage is a huge financial relief for many people. Yet however helpful Medicare can be, it doesn’t cover everything. The following guide from Senior Living Experts can help you understand what Medicare does and doesn’t cover.


What Doesn’t Medicare Cover?

As you plan for the future, it’s essential that you have all the information you need in order to make thorough preparations and well-informed decisions. With that in mind, here’s a list of what medicare doesn’t cover:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic services
  • Alternative medicine
  • Elective cosmetic procedures
  • Dental care
  • Vision care
  • Hearing exams and aids
  • Certain podiatry services
  • X-ray copies
  • Non-emergency transportation
  • Overseas care
  • In-home help
  • Homemaker services
  • Nursing home care
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Adult daycare
  • Post-mortem medical bills
  • Final expenses

Some of these make sense; after all, most people don’t expect federal health insurance to cover elective cosmetic surgery. However, the fact that Medicare doesn’t cover certain things like long-term care and post-mortem medical bills comes as a surprise for many seniors. The truth is that more than half of Americans will need nursing home care at some point, and many of them are underprepared for the expenses. 


How Much Does Long-Term Care Cost?

The majority of Americans are wildly unprepared when it comes to covering the staggering expenses associated with long-term care. A private room in a nursing home costs over $92,000 annually, while a semi-private room runs around $82,000. Homemaker services and in-home healthcare can cost $45,000 to $46,000 annually. An assisted living facility puts a person back about $43,500 a year. Adult daycare, meanwhile, is a steep $17,600 annually. 


How Much Do Final Expenses Cost?

Final expenses, such as funeral costs and paying off medical bills, can leave a huge financial strain on the loved ones you leave behind. The average funeral with a viewing, burial, embalming, hearse, transfer of remains, and service fees costs between $7,000 and $10,000. Cremation can be more cost-effective, but it can still put your family members back $6,000. Meanwhile, any medical debts you’ve accrued can end up becoming your family’s responsibility after your death if your estate cannot cover them.


Covering Costs Medicare Doesn’t

There are many ways to cover the high costs of healthcare in later years, but two great options are long-term care insurance and final expense insurance. These two types of insurance plans help protect your finances and your family when these costs eventually rear their ugly heads. While they can add thousands of dollars to your current annual expenses, these policies have the potential to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars on medical expenses in the future. 

Long-term care insurance can help cover the expenses associated with nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult daycare, and in-home care. Insurance policies may even help pay for home renovations that prevent falls and injury. The earlier you apply for a long-term care policy, the less your monthly premiums will be. Most insurance providers have a waiting or elimination period before the company agrees to make any payouts to the policyholder. 

Final expense insurance (also called burial insurance) is a type of whole life insurance policy that alleviates the financial pressure put on a family after a death. It can be beneficial because it helps pay for expenses you leave behind, such as funeral costs and medical bills. Final expense insurance never expires and even accrues a cash value over time. Monthly premiums tend to be more affordable, as death payouts tend to be less than the benefits of traditional insurance, making this a great choice for those on a limited budget who simply want to afford their family’s peace of mind. 

If you own a home, consider selling your home to cover the cost of things like long-term care or assisted living. It’s important to understand the value of your house before you move forward; this way, you’ll have a realistic estimate of what buyers will offer. For many people, this is the best way to have money to cover these costs.

Medicare helps American seniors cover the rising costs of medical care, but it doesn’t pay for everything. Long-term care and final expenses can cost a person thousands or even hundreds of thousands out-of-pocket if they are not prepared, so take action now to protect yourself. Find a plan that will help ease your financial burdens down the road, such as long-term care insurance, final expense insurance, and a better healthcare coverage plan. Planning ahead and taking action as early as possible can help provide a sense of security down the road. 

Millie created SeniorWellness as a way to inspire older generations - including her own! - to embrace their wellness throughout their golden years. She hopes her site will help people of all ages feel young at heart. When she’s not playing with her grandkids, Millie can be found writing, taking photos (film or bust!), or putting those skills to use via scrapbooking.


At Senior Living Experts, our advisors work with you and your family to find the perfect fit. Call 773-231-7212.

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The Biggest Challenges You'll Face When Caring For The Elderly

February 16, 2022

As we age, the body slowly weakens. Over time, the elderly will need assistance to help them with activities of daily living. Luckily, Lake County senior living is ready to take on the responsibility of caring for the aging population.

A senior living community is an ideal place for the elderly. It’s a low-stress community that allows seniors to thrive, allowing them to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle. But unfortunately, not a lot of people know about senior living. Instead of asking for help from a community that’s designed for the elderly, family members are taking matters into their own hands. They don’t know that caring for the elderly is not an easy job. In fact, it can be a complex and extremely challenging undertaking.

 

A caretaker and elderly patient at Lake County Senior Living

The Common Challenges of Caring for Senior Parents

 

Managing Activities of Daily Living

As your parents get older, their needs become more and more difficult. Sooner or later, their age will make it hard for them to do their usual activities such as going to the doctor, shopping, managing finances, preparing meals, and many more.

The children will shoulder this responsibility, which means you’ll have to cancel some of your essential plans to take your parents to the doctor or give up a big meeting with your boss to ensure your parents are well fed.

Caring for the elderly is often a full-time 24/7 job where you may have to make huge sacrifices to keep them safe and healthy, even if it’s inconvenient for you. Being a caregiver is a tough job. It will even get more challenging if your parent has dementia.

 

Health and Medical Problems

If caring for a healthy aging adult is challenging all the more if your parents suffer from medical issues. We’ve come to accept the fact that older people are prone to getting sick as their health deteriorates. Seniors diagnosed with chronic medical conditions will require constant attention and support from caregivers.

Family members may survive this challenging task for several months, but if it becomes an everyday thing for the rest of your parents’ lives, would you be able to do it? Are you willing to sacrifice your personal goals to become a caregiver?

 

Safety Concerns

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 36 million falls are reported each year among the elderly leading to 32,000 deaths. In addition, statistics show that around 3 million elderly are rushed into the emergency room because of a fall injury. Given these statistics, you can’t help but feel paranoid whenever your parents walk around the house.

You have to keep an eye on them 24/7 to ensure they are safe. Does your home have safety features to help minimize the risk of injuries? If not, you’ll need to invest in accessories to ensure your loved ones’ safety. In addition, constantly worrying about your parents’ safety can be emotionally draining.

 

Dealing with Other Family Members

Caring for your parents is a heavy workload, but in addition to that, you’ll also have to deal with other family members who have different opinions on how you should handle the elderly. They will criticize your service or make unrealistic suggestions. This can lead to emotional exhaustion.

A caretaker helps senior patient with medication at Lake County Senior Living

 

How Do You Overcome These Challenges?

 

Be More Understanding

The elderly will have a hard time accepting that they are slowly losing their independence, leading to changes in their behavior. Don’t take their behavior personally. This isn’t about you; it’s about them and their new struggles that will take time to get used to.

To help you overcome this emotional turmoil, try to be more understanding of the situation. Put yourself in their shoes so you can be more sympathetic. You may have already anticipated this reaction, but you can never prepare your emotions for it. So, it’s best to be more understanding and sensitive to your parents.

 

Open Communication

The abrupt change in their lifestyle can be painful to accept. To help them cope, be there for them. You can ask them how they are doing, how they feel about the change, and what they can do to make themselves feel better. The more they can express themselves, the more they’ll feel lighter. Also, let them know that if they need anything, you’ll be there for them.

 

Assist Them During the Adjustment Phase

Transitions are part of aging. Their health, strength, motion, cognition – so many things can change, whether abruptly or gradually. Regardless, be ready to assist them in this adjustment phase. Letting them know that you’ll be there every step of the way is one way of assuring them that things will be okay.

If your parents have to change living conditions because of their health, make sure to bring possessions with sentimental value to make them feel at home. Your job as a caregiver is to make their transition as smooth and hassle-free as possible.


Preserve Their Dignity

One of the most challenging tasks caregivers face is maintaining the elderly’s dignity. The secret is to involve them in everything, even the most trivial things. Ask for their opinion so they can feel that they’re still in control. Involve them in activities. Doing so will give them a sense of purpose.

 

What If You Can’t Do It?

Believe it or not, many family members cannot endure the life of full-time caregivers. They may get off on the right foot, but as they face unending challenges, they eventually succumb to caregiver burnout. We can’t stress this enough. Caring for the elderly is a tough job.

If you can’t give your 100% commitment, we suggest giving senior living a try. Senior living communities have improved the lives of thousands of aging Americans with their quality services that aim to preserve the integrity and independence of their residents. In addition, the community offers fun and safe programs to help the elderly thrive.

 

A youthful hand placed over an elderly hand at Lake County Senior Living

Do You Have More Questions About Lake County Senior Living?

At Senior Living Experts, we help you find the best assisted living and memory care communities for your loved ones. Our years of experience in the industry working with various clients have helped improve our service over the years. We offer our resources, knowledge, and technology to give you the best living options. Call us today for a free consultation.  

If you’re having a hard time caring for your aging parents, you can count on Lake County senior living. Call today to learn more.

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Tips for Tying the Knot in the Golden Years

January 31, 2022

Are you ready to say "I do" in your golden years? Of adults 60 and older, 9 in 10 have been
married, and of adults 60 to 69, at least 20% of them have been married twice, according to
the U.S. Census Bureau. Before you get married, consider these tips for a senior marriage
from Senior Living Experts.


Planning Finances
If you're used to having your own money, combining finances can be stressful. Discuss
whether you'll keep separate bank accounts or join your finances. Agree on who pays for
various expenses. Consider how marriage might impact your taxes, Social Security benefits,
and other finances to prepare for those changes.


Choosing a Place To Live

If you haven't moved in together yet, you'll need to choose where to live. One option is
moving into one of your current homes. One survey shows that 76% of adults 50 and older
want to age in place or stay in their home in their current community. When you're
combining households, you'll have to agree on which residence is best. According to an
AARP survey, a third of seniors need to make modifications to age in place, so consider the
accessibility of both homes. 


Preparing for the Future
Even if you're still living at home now, it's important to plan for possible future medical and
long-term care needs. The CDC reports that six in 10 adults have one chronic condition and
four in 10 have two or more. Whether or not you have health conditions now, talk about
how you'll handle future health issues and long-term care needs. Discuss what you'll do if
you can't live independently in the future.


Handling Estate Planning
Estate planning becomes even more important when you're combining two households,
especially if you both have kids. According to Gallup, only 68% of people 65 and older have
wills. Create wills if you don't have them, and update them with new beneficiary
information now that you're getting married.


Considering the Kids
Getting married in your senior years likely won't include custody agreements or a blended
family, but your kids might still react negatively. Adult children still worry about their
parents and want to make sure they're in a good situation. It can create tension in the
family if some family members don't support the marriage. Consider how your kids and
other relatives might react. Talking to them in advance and preparing for resistance can
make it easier to navigate.

Starting a Business Together
Starting a business is a way to spend more time together in your golden years. It can also be
a good source of income for your long-term care expenses and to build up your retirement
income. You don't have to commit to a 9-to-5 business. Consulting and freelancing give you
the flexibility to work on your schedule. Forming an LLC based on Illinois laws can provide
personal liability protection in this endeavor while giving you tax benefits and less
paperwork.


Enjoying a Golden Years Marriage
Having your plans in order before you tie the knot makes the transition to senior married
life easier. Explore the professionals, including financial planners, from Senior Living
Experts who can help you prepare for marriage.

Millie created SeniorWellness as a way to inspire older generations - including her own! - to embrace their wellness throughout their golden years. She hopes her site will help people of all ages feel young at heart. When she’s not playing with her grandkids, Millie can be found writing, taking photos (film or bust!), or putting those skills to use via scrapbooking.

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Benefits of Tai Chi

January 25, 2022

It is very important for seniors to stay active, and Tai Chi is a great way for seniors to engage in exercise and practice deep breathing techniques. Our advisors at Senior Living Experts encourage seniors to practice this type of exercise, as it has several physical and mental health benefits.


What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that involves movement in a slow, focused manner. These exercise movements help with balance, flexibility, and stability. Each posture slowly moves into the next posture, so there is rarely a time when your body completely stops moving. It puts very little pressure on your muscles and joints, which is what makes this such a relaxing type of exercise. 


This type of exercise is mostly practiced while standing up. However, a chair can be used for support if needed. 


What are the physical health benefits of Tai Chi?

Practicing Tai Chi can result in multiple physical health benefits, especially for seniors. When practiced regularly, it can reduce knee, back, and shoulder pain. A 2016 study delves into this research, and talks about specific pain-related health conditions that may benefit from Tai Chi. 


For seniors, Tai Chi can help with stability and muscle control, including seniors with Parkinson’s Disease. This also results in a reduced risk of falling. A 2017 research study discusses a 50% reduced risk of falling, in older adults who practice Tai Chi regularly. 


As for people with cardiopulmonary conditions and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Tai Chi might be a great option for exercise. A 2018 research study indicates that Tai Chi and Pulmonary Rehabilitation are equivalent in reducing symptoms of COPD.


Moreover, seniors may notice that they have a stronger core and improved strength overall. Immune function can also be improved from Tai Chi practice.


What are the mental health benefits of Tai Chi?

Tai Chi can help seniors with cognition in general. It can also improve their mood, ability to focus, and stress levels. Seniors who experience symptoms of anxiety and depression may experience reduced symptoms after regularly practicing Tai Chi. 


Additionally, it can teach seniors how to breathe correctly while moving their bodies. Breath work calms the brain, and is an easy way to reduce stress levels.


Get Started

All you need to get started with Tai Chi is an open room, comfortable clothes, and a chair for support, if needed. Check out this YouTube video for a beginner Tai Chi 6-minute video. Take 15-30 minutes out of your day to practice this type of exercise. It is comfortable, and results in a multitude of mental and physical health benefits!


Senior Living Experts can be reached at 771-213-7212, and the advisors will be happy to answer any questions about senior living! Visit our website at www.seniorlivingexperts.com for more information.

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How to Care for Someone with Alzheimer's

January 21, 2022

Caring for the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s is fundamentally different from caring for a healthy aging person, so family members of dementia patients tend to consider memory care in Chicago. Alzheimer’s is a disease that attacks a person’s brain cells affecting behavior, thoughts, and memory. The worst part about this disease is that it’s progressive. Furthermore, it doesn’t have a cure.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2021, over 6 million Americans older than 65 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 75 percent of this population is 75 years old and above. One in every nine people older than 65 has Alzheimer’s, and nearly two-thirds of Americans who have Alzheimer’s are women.  

Patients with Alzheimer’s require daily care and assistance, whether from family members or professional caregivers. The following are helpful tips on caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.  

senior resident and caregiver at a Memory Care in Chicago

Alzheimer’s Care Tips

#1 Understand The Disease

To provide the best possible care, you must learn about the disease. Caregivers should know that as the disease progresses, the symptoms may worsen, making caring for your loved ones even more challenging. It helps to mentally prepare yourself by understanding the different stages of the disease as well as their accompanying symptoms. Knowing what you’re about to deal with will help you prepare and plan.

Alzheimer’s falls under three stages – mild, moderate, and severe.  

Mild – People who have Alzheimer’s in the early stages can still function independently, and they can continue with social activities without a problem. However, they may struggle to remember or concentrate. They also tend to forget specific names. Other signs that your loved ones may have Alzheimer’s are when they show difficulty solving problems and writing.  

Moderate – When the disease progresses to moderate Alzheimer’s, the person will exhibit substantial memory loss and confusion. They will have trouble recognizing close friends and family members, plus following instructions and organizing become a problem. In addition, they’ll have difficulty performing activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing.  

It’s also common for patients to feel restless or have trouble sleeping, get lost, and show personality changes.  

Severe – The last stage of Alzheimer’s requires 24/7 help with almost all daily tasks such as eating, walking, sitting up, dressing, bathing, etc. By this time, the patient will not be able to converse coherently with you. They may even have difficulty chewing their food. In addition, they won’t be able to recognize their own family.  

senior patient and nurse at Memory Care in Chicago

#2 Establish a Routine

You can make the elderly more comfortable by establishing a daily routine. A routine allows them to be familiar with some activities despite living with a disease that affects their memory.  

As a caregiver, you should avoid making major changes to the routine, as this will only lead to more confusion. However, if changes are necessary, introduce them gradually to the patient and not abruptly.  

#3 Plan Activities Ahead  

To keep the elderly engaged and entertained, we suggest you plan their activities. There are so many things they can do even if they have dementia.  

Some of the activities that will keep the elderly active and engaged are listening to music, dancing, exercising such as stretching and walking, baking, cooking, watching a movie, visiting family and friends, going to the park or a café, and doing household chores like folding clothes or doing the laundry.  

You can initiate an outing if the elderly are in a good mood. For example, some patients feel bright in the morning while others are more energetic at night. Observing their energy level can be your cue on when you should plan the outing.  

#4 Encourage Communication

As the disease worsens, the elderly’s ability to communicate with you becomes affected. They will have trouble remembering words and struggle to interpret what you say. It’s also likely that they’ll lose their train of thought.  

As a caregiver, you can implement several communication strategies such as:

  • Maintaining eye contact and smiling when talking to the elderly
  • Asking only one question at a time and waiting for the patient to answer
  • Using their name
  • Making sure your body language is relaxed
  • Speak with a soft voice, but don’t “baby talk” them.  

#5 Prepare Nutritious Meals for Them

Since Alzheimer’s affects their memory and independence, the elderly cannot be able to prepare their meals themselves. Therefore, as their caregiver, you should plan their meals, ensuring that they are nutritious and healthy to give them energy and keep them in good shape.  

Remember that some Alzheimer’s patients can no longer remember how to cook, and it’s also unsafe as they may leave the stove turned on. It’s also possible that they are disoriented with time, so they won’t know when to eat. In addition, some patients have lost their ability to taste and smell foods.  

When serving meals, do it at the same time, which means you should stick to a schedule. You should also serve the food on plates with vibrant and bright colors as this helps emphasize the meal.  

Serving bigger portions is okay during breakfast, and don’t forget to assist them with taking their vitamins. Another important reminder – make sure the food you prepare is easy to chew.  

#6 Their Safety Is a Priority

People with Alzheimer’s are prone to injury and danger. It’s your responsibility to keep them safe. Even if you put signs that say “Danger” or “Keep Out,” they may not understand it.  

How can you keep them safe?  

  • Apply striking-colored tapes on the edges of steps
  • Put a cushion on sharp corners of all the furniture in your home
  • Hide mirrors in your house
  • Install safety locks on the stove

#7 Consider Memory Care

Trust us, very few people have the time to be full-time caregivers to patients with Alzheimer’s. If you’re burned out and can no longer commit to caring for your loved ones because of work and other obligations, you may want to consider memory care.  

Memory care communities are just like assisted living facilities, but their main focus is memory-related disorders like Alzheimer’s. The goal of the community is to provide your loved ones with a strong support system while providing a safe environment for them to thrive.  

seniors at Memory Care in Chicago

Are You Interested in Memory Care in Chicago?

If you need professional help, we have you covered. At Senior Living Experts, we always strive to provide the best care in the best environment for your loved ones. Call us today to learn more about memory care.  

Family members of dementia patients consider memory care in Chicago to help patients cope and thrive. Call today to learn more.

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Why Should I Choose A Local Senior Living Advisor?

January 11, 2022

Choosing a senior living community is an exciting process. A Senior Living Advisor is there to enhance your senior living search and help you make smart decisions. How do you make a decision on which Senior Living Advisor to choose? We recommend working with a local Senior Living Advisor (connect with one of our advisors here!) because of their specialized experience in the area, among many other benefits.


Familiarity with the Communities in the Area

Local advisors visit the communities in the area often. They are apprised of any events, offerings, new initiatives, recognitions, and awards earned by communities. They can also quickly report the availability and pricing of the communities to you. 


With this information at their fingertips, a lot of the legwork is done on your behalf, and expeditiously at that. Advisors can connect you and your family to events going on in the area, and enhance your senior living education experience, even after you have chosen a community. 


Additionally, local advisors are familiar with the local market in terms of pricing and any current incentives. They can give you more accurate financial information on the communities that you are interested in. As the years go on, the prices of a senior living community may fluctuate, so local advisors have the advantage of knowing what the most recent price looks like.


If you are interested in touring a community, a local Senior Living Advisor can accompany you. They will be happy to walk through a community with you, and go over many questions you may have about life at that community. They can also meet at hospitals or rehabilitation facilities  with families in order to discuss next steps.


Personal Connections with Community Staff

Local advisors have worked in the senior living communities in the area, so they personally know the Executive Directors, Sales and Marketing Staff, and sometimes the clinical staff, as well. 


With a personal relationship established, our advisors have built a trusted bond over the years with staff at senior living communities. They share a collective goal in seeing that the seniors, and their families, are well supported and cared for. 


Along with being familiar with the staff at the communities, Senior Living Advisors may have personal connections outside of the communities. For example, local Senior Living Advisors may be able to connect you with elder law attorneys, financial planners, or SRES realtors in your area. 


Community Reputation and Culture

Local advisors are informed on the satisfaction levels and reviews of the communities. They are aware of the word of mouth in the area, along with the quality of the relationships the communities have with local hospitals. 


Moreover, local advisors know the culture of a senior living community because of the ease of ability to visit. They can determine if a community is more active or subdued, if they can take on a higher level of care, or if they take a lot of off-site trips, or prefer on-site activities. 


Senior Living Advisors are always there to help and guide you through the moving process, however, local advisors can offer you more benefits due to their geographical location. Senior Living Experts is happy to help you with any other questions you may have. Call us at 771-213-7212 or visit our website at www.seniorlivingexperts.com.



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Practicing Gratitude Into the New Year

January 2, 2022

As we enter 2022, we encourage seniors to practice gratitude. There are a multitude of benefits that result from doing so. These may include increasing mental wellness, strengthening relationships with peers, and improving memory. 


Boosts in Mental Health and Overall Wellness

According to a 2020 study, being grateful reduces depression and anxiety. It leads people to feel more positively towards the world, and be grateful for what they have. This reduction in anxiety and depression results in a physical wellness boost as well.


Reducing stress is a great way for your immune system to fight off illnesses more easily. By reducing negative thoughts and feelings, your immune system will become stronger and do a better job of protecting you. 


Other aspects of physical health can be boosted as well, such as a reduction of the risks associated with heart failure. A 2017 study discusses how gratitude journaling can lead to better heart health. 


Relationships: How Do They Become Stronger?

Gratitude can lead a person to view their peers in a positive light. It will encourage the person to think about how the person has improved their overall quality of life, instead of focusing on their negative attributes. 


This will allow them to feel socially connected to their peers. They will be more willing to walk up to a person and start a conversation. 


Memory Improvement

Gratitude is all about remembering past experiences. If a senior practices going through memories, it is improving their brain’s ability to recall information. The more a senior does this, the more they are improving their overall brain health. 


Ways To Practice Gratitude

Being grateful is not just reminiscing on past memories; there are a variety of ways to practice gratitude. 


Gratitude journaling

Pick up a pen and paper, and write down as many things you are grateful for as you can. Aim to fill the entire page, or two! 


You can time yourself as well. Give yourself 5 or 10 minutes, and try to write down as many things as you can. This does not need to be in list form: you can categorize the things you are grateful for. For example, what are you grateful for about your family? What are you grateful for about your home? What are you grateful for about nature? Be specific. 


Gratitude mapping

If you have a cork board, dry erase board, chalk board, or any board in general, you can add sticky notes or write on it. Add a new thing to be grateful for every day. Then, at the end of the week you can have a creative and colorful board on the wall, of everything you are grateful for. 


Gratitude jar or bucket

Add a tiny piece of paper to your gratitude journal or bucket every day. At the end of the month, you can take out slips of paper and read them. Find out what you were grateful for the past month.


This does not need to be emptied out each month. You can create gratitude jars or buckets for each year. Start by making one for 2022 today!


Meditation or prayer

Practicing gratitude can make you feel spiritually connected. Sit in a quiet, comfortable location. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply and put on comforting music if you would like to. Think about everything you are grateful for. 


Make a scrapbook or photo album

Collect photos of your family, friends, or past memories. Put all of the photos in a book and decorate the pages. This will be a great decoration for your home, and also a great way to practice gratitude in the future. 


Call a loved one

Gratitude can be practiced with others as well. Give your loved ones a call and reminisce on memories with them. You can have a photo book next to you, as a reminder of certain memories with that person. Consider writing down your favorite memories with each person, because it is a way to keep track of memories with specific people. They will be great to look at later!


Our advisors at Senior Living Experts encourage you to practice gratitude today! Feel free to use any of our suggested techniques. Today is a great day to get started on your gratitude practice. Call us at 773-231-7212 or visit our website at www.seniorlivingexperts.com.










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How to Convince Your Loved Ones to Consider Senior Living

December 17, 2021

At one point or another, many families will have to discuss senior living in the Chicago area with their elderly relatives. People, in general, often don’t want to be taken away from their homes. Over the years, they’ve built countless priceless memories there. So, when you open up the possibility of senior living, many might reject the idea completely.

Unfortunately, allowing seniors to remain in their homes while their health deteriorates may not be the best decision. It can be dangerous for their physical and mental health. And not to mention, it will also take a toll on the mental health of family caregivers. So how then can you convince your aging parents to move to a senior living community?  

Chicago area elderly man being helped up by a nurse in assisted living

How to Persuade Aging Loved Ones to Move to a Senior Living Community  

What Do Senior Living Communities Offer?

Most people assume that a conventional nursing home is similar to senior living communities. Although these two share similarities, they are different in many ways. Senior living offers a homey, comfortable, and warm environment for seniors.

It’s a place where they receive the support and care they need to maintain their quality of life despite their age. These communities also offer an excellent avenue for the elderly to socially interact with other residents and participate in fun and engaging community activities.  

Senior living offers laundry services, escorting, dressing, bathing, incontinence assistance, and medication management. In addition, all the residents are given three full meals a day, outings, utilities, housekeeping, and 24/7 accessible staff.  

In a senior living community, you don’t have to worry about your parents being on their own or getting anxious that they might hurt themselves or take the wrong medication. Someone will always be there to look after them.

Who Qualifies for Senior Living?  

If your parents keep forgetting to take their medications, they are unsure about the dosage or frequency, or they are having difficulty completing activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing, they can benefit from senior living communities. Even though they will be getting professional assistance, these communities encourage independence.

Every person’s needs are different. Your loved ones will be thoroughly assessed to determine what type of care they need.

Nevertheless, seniors who have had a fall or those who are suffering from nutritional deficiencies, and those who need help with activities of daily living, are good candidates for senior living communities. You’ll know if it’s time when you are constantly worried about your parent’s safety and well-being.

The challenge isn’t about deciding whether they need senior living; the real test is to convince them to leave their beloved homes. How can you convince your parents to go for it?

Two hands clasped in comfort at an assisted living community in the Chicago area

What Can You Do to Convince Them to Try Senior Living?  

#1 Talk Casually About Senior Living

Don’t start out with a formal presentation or an educational session with your loved ones. Instead, talk about it casually. You can start by saying that your friends’ parents gave it a shot, and they were delighted being in senior communities.

Talk about real people with real experiences. You also don’t have to state the name of the living option. You can just explain what it offers and how it can make their lives more comfortable, safer, and easier for them.

#2 Be Prepared for Questions

If you are going to convince your aging parents to try senior living, you must be prepared. You’ll be presented with numerous questions, and if you can’t answer them, they will get discouraged. So, the best thing you can do is to do your research. For example, you may use search engine sites to gather information about senior living or call these communities yourself and ask them questions.

#3 Wait for the Perfect Moment  

The timing of your offer also matters a great deal.  For example, if your mom slipped and hurt her knee, you can use that opportunity to let her know that a senior living community can keep her safe since the place is fully equipped with safety features to keep accidents at bay. This will give your parent some time to digest the information and acknowledge the need for help.  

#4 Look for Referrals  

Another effective way to convince your loved ones to go to a senior living community is to find someone you know whose parents are thriving well in such communities. It’s also a good way to let them know the possible outcomes of being a senior living community resident.

#5 Tour Them Around

Senior living communities offer delectable meals and fun activities for their residents. You can take your parents there for a tour so they can get a feel of what it’s like to be in such a facility. Show them around and ask for their opinions.

Would they prefer to be in a smaller community or a bigger one? Does the living condition fit their standard? Is the place comfortable for them? What can they say about the location or the food? Did they have fun with the activities? The answers to these questions will help you find a facility that suits them best.  

#6 Talk About the Benefits

If you’re looking for a tactic that will make your parents want to be in a senior living community, you should start talking to them about the perks of living in one. Emphasize the advantages of a senior living facility both for them and for you.

Let them know that they will get the assistance they need whenever necessary. In addition, all the staff members are trained to respect personal space even if they offer professional help.

Seniors can focus their attention on tasks and activities they enjoy instead of using up all of their energy on chores. These chores are done for them.  

Three elder men in the Chicago area enjoying life in an assisted living community

Would You Like to Learn More About Senior Living in Chicago Area?

If you have more questions or wish to learn more about our services so you can explain them better to your parents, feel free to come to us, and we’ll answer all your questions.

At Senior Living Experts, our advisors will work closely with you and your family to help you find the perfect place for your parents.

We have been working with over 230 communities, and we’ve helped hundreds of seniors live better and more comfortable lives with the array of options we offer. Call us today to learn more about assisted living and nursing homes.

How can you convince your parents to consider senior living in Chicago area? Call us to learn helpful strategies!

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Resources to Help People Moving into Senior Living

December 8, 2021

Donna Erickson, creator of Fit Memory, shares a blog with us about moving into a senior living community, and some resources you can use while going through the process.

If you’re considering moving to a senior living community, you should be prepared. Some seniors may be worried about leaving their homes. Others may wonder how long they can stretch their savings to cover their stay in a senior living community. We’ve collected several resources about senior living and handling your finances. We’ve also added some tips about hygiene and cleanliness and finding new hobbies so you can enjoy your stay.

 

Choosing Senior Living

 

Deciding which type of senior living arrangement you need, will depend on how much support you need and how independent you are.

 

●     An independent living community allows for maintenance-free living with many opportunities to enjoy activities with other seniors.

●     If you need help with activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, meal preparation), then an assisted living community may be your best option.

●     Work with SeniorLiving Experts to find the right senior living fit in the Chicagoland area!

 

Financing Senior Living

 

These resources will discuss how to finance your residency at independent and assisted living communities, and your options for funding.

 

●     Learn more about funding your stay in senior living.

●     There are times when we may encounter difficulties regarding our finances when living in a senior living community. If this happens, here are some things you should know.

●     When you’re ready to make the move, search “local movers near me” and find customer testimonials and ratings about moving companies in your area.

 

Healthy Habits

 

Seniors tend to be more susceptible to illnesses, so we have to be more conscious about our health. Here are some resources for maintaining hygiene, sleeping better, and eating right.

 

●     Basic hygiene starts with washing your hands often. Here’s how you should do it.

●     What you should know to get quality sleep.

●     Eating right doesn’t have to be a major lifestyle change. It’s all about adding some healthy food into your diet to boost your immune system.

 

Have Fun Inside

 

Senior living communities are full of activities that seniors enjoy. These activities can also be educational and allow us to make new friends.

 

●     Arts and crafts are popular activities. There are so many choices available, depending on the community you live in. Here’s a resource about drawing for seniors.

●     There are many activities arranged by senior living centers. Learn more about them, but remember that these activities differ in each community.

 

With resources like these on hand, you can make smart decisions in regards to your choice of senior living, finances, healthy habits, having fun, and how to stay safe.

Donna Erickson is a retired public educator. She created Fit Memory with a few friends as a way to promote wellness among senior citizens with the hopes it will help inspire others to make the most of their golden years.

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Early Signs of Alzheimer's

November 30, 2021

Because November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Month, our advisors at Senior Living Experts want to provide you with the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia, and it is a brain disease that causes memory loss over time. 


Slow decline in memory that affects daily life

If your loved one tends to forget important dates,  or relies on memory aids, such as reminder lists and electronic reminders, that may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. Forgetfulness happens to the average person, however, if you also notice personality changes, increased anxiety, and ruminating thoughts, it may be time to see a Neuropsychologist. 


Additionally, if your loved one has trouble with problem solving or sticking to a plan, this may be considered an early symptom. For example, if the senior forgets how to manage their finances, we would advise you to keep watch of these instances occurring more than once. 


If they are starting to forget how to do familiar tasks, this is something that should be closely monitored, as well. You should begin the Memory Care conversation if familiar tasks, such as forgetting how to work with microwave settings, creating a grocery list, or playing their favorite game has become difficult. 


Trouble understanding space and time

People showing early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s may forget where they are, how they got there, what day it is, or anything else relating to location and time. Sometimes the average person may temporarily forget the day of the week, but if it happens every day or multiple times a day, then it should be a concern. 


Misplacing or putting things in odd places can also be an early symptom. The average person may find themselves putting milk in a cabinet, but as mentioned previously, the frequency and severity of these occurrences is what should be monitored. 


Early signs of Alzheimer’s may also include not being able to stay balanced, or understand spatial relationships,  and visual cues. An example of this would be if a senior struggles to read. 


Confused speech

Seniors who have trouble telling stories, or speaking in chronological order,  may be experiencing Alzheimer’s symptoms. They may repeat themselves, or stop speaking mid-conversation because they do not know how to continue. Vocabulary can also become confusing to them, as they may not be able to recall the names of things such as a “clock” or a “sidewalk”. Aphasia is the inability to express speech, and this becomes quite common with the onset of Alzheimers. 


Mood changes

Those with Alzheimers  may seem more depressed, anxious, or frustrated. This can happen when they are at home or doing something outside of their comfort zone.

You may notice personality changes as well. The person may feel overwhelmed with the changes they are experiencing. Make sure to support them and guide them towards helpful resources which assist in additional support. It is also important to consider Memory Care as an option, and become educated on communities in your area which offer this level of care. 


Our advisors at Senior Living Experts are always available to help you through the Memory Care process. For more information, contact www.seniorlivingexperts.com or call us at 773-231-7212.

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Commonly Asked Questions About Assisted Living

November 15, 2021

Family members are torn between wanting to keep their parents in their homes and the need to move them to an assisted living facility. When is the best time to consider assisted living in Chicagoland? You have to face the reality that your parents are getting older by the day. And the older they get, the more they’ll need to be assisted. This is the unfortunate part of aging.

If leaving your parents at home worries you, then it’s high time you check assisted living communities in your area. Assisted living communities offer the best support that is guaranteed to cater to the needs of your loved ones.

Woman living in assisted living in Chicagoland

Frequently Asked Questions About Assisted Living Communities

What Is Assisted Living?

The best description for assisted living is a supportive community for the elderly. It’s a unique living option that helps promote senior independence while preserving their dignity in a safe environment. These facilities are fully equipped to give seniors a comfortable and homey place to stay.

Professional assistance is available 24/7. This assurance will ease your worries, knowing that help is provided whenever needed. Assisted living services include medication management, evening care, laundry, incontinence assistance, bathing, dressing, etc. The care plan designed for your loved ones is tailor-made to suit their preferences and unique needs.  

Family members fear that leaving their aging parents in assisted living communities will make the elderly feel isolated and depressed. On the contrary, surveys show that residents feel more alive than ever because they get the chance to interact with other residents socially. In addition, these communities have well-established programs that encourage residents’ active participation.

Assisted living is an excellent option for seniors who don’t want to live alone and require professional help. Instead of being institutionalized, they’ll be housed in private apartments while receiving laundry services, housekeeping, meal plans, and maintenance. And the best part is they have full access to the community’s modern amenities. It’s like being on vacation 24/7.

This type of community is ideal for seniors who don’t require extensive medical care but only added support with their activities of daily living and personal care. It’s also suitable for the elderly who have memory gaps since living alone makes it unsafe for them.

What Makes Assisted Living Different from Nursing Homes?  

Everyone is more familiar with nursing homes, so they often mistake a nursing home for an assisted living community. These two are different in multiple ways. In assisted living, independence is encouraged as much as possible. Residents get to live in private apartments that they can decorate as they please.

They also get to choose what meals they want and have the liberty to decide what activities they’ll join. The elderly have complete control over how they are going to enjoy their day.  

On the other hand, a nursing home is an institutionalized setting designed to care for sick seniors. The seniors receive 24/7 skilled nursing care. As a result, the place is more clinical than the homey and warm vibe of assisted living.

man under care of Assisted Living Chicagoland

How Much Are You Going to Pay for Assisted Living?

The cost of these communities depends on your location, the size and type of rental apartment you’re getting, and the level of care your loved ones need. Some residents opt for additional services, and this will add up to the overall cost.

The average cost of assisted living is between can vary depending on amenities, care, and location. Patients with disabilities, like those who have Alzheimer’s, will have to pay more for special memory care.  

A nursing home is more expensive than assisted living communities because the residents receive specialized care.  

Who Qualifies for Assisted Living?

One of the questions family members want to know is whether or not their parents are good candidates for assisted living. Assisted living is the perfect place for the aging population. The residents do not need specialized care if it’s not necessary – and can get assistance with daily tasks such as meals, housecleaning medication, dressing, monitoring, etc.

Most adult children will eventually move out of their homes to build their own families, leaving their aging parents behind. Sadly, seniors are no longer as strong and agile as they used to be, unlike their younger years. As a result, they become prone to falls and injuries.

By this time, there should be someone in the home to look after them. If you can’t make that commitment, your parents might be better off in assisted living communities where they can thrive and practice their independence. It’s a win-win case for you and your loved ones.

You get to have peace of mind knowing that they’re safe, and you won’t feel guilty for living your own life while your parents get the assistance they need to improve their quality of life.  

What are the Benefits of Assisted Living?

Research shows that seniors in assisted living communities are happier than when they were in their own homes. Here’s why.

#1 Companionship  

Assisted living communities are designed to make the elderly feel at home. The place has a warm and homey vibe, unlike clinical nursing homes. One of the things seniors love about these communities is the companionship. Through the activities, they can engage, interact, and socialize with other residents and staff. Over time, they develop long-lasting friendships with other people.

#2 Personal Wellness

The staff of assisted living communities is trained and skilled to help the elderly. One example is medication management. The team monitors and keeps track of the dosages, frequency, and any adverse reactions to the medications.  

In addition, they update the family members about any concerns regarding the medication while keeping an open communication line with the resident’s physician.

Facility for assisted living in Chicagoland

Are You Looking for an Assisted Living in Chicagoland?

The options may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry, we can help you! At Senior Living Experts, our advisors will work closely with you and your family to help you find the best community for your aging parents.  

We have been working with over 230 communities, and we’ve helped hundreds of seniors live better and more comfortable lives with the array of options we offer. Call us today to learn more about assisted living and nursing homes.

Are you looking for assisted living in Chicagoland? If yes, you’ve come to the right place. Call us today to have your questions answered.

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Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

November 1, 2021

As you may know, high blood pressure often leads to a higher chance in developing health issues. There are several natural remedies that you can use in order to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Our advisors at Senior Living Experts have some tips for you.

 

Physical activity - always!

Even if it is chair exercises in your living room or going for a walk around the block, it is helpful for maintaining a healthy blood pressure. As we age, we might view exercise in a different light. It might feel more challenging to do what we used to do, however, that is not a bad thing. It is important to adjust your exercises to your body.

 

Check out this YouTube video. They go over some exercises that older individuals can do in their own home. There are standing exercises and modified chair exercises as well, and the seniors can do these exercises within the perimeter of their living room!

 

Adjust your diet

Bananas, bananas, bananas...potassium is key! Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, but potassium counteracts these negative effects that come from sodium. 

 

Throw some banana slices in your yogurt, place a banana in your breakfast smoothie, or eat one with peanut butter! There are a variety of ways for you to include bananas in your diet.

 

Bananas aren’t the only source of potassium. You can also eat avocados, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes with the skin, spinach, watermelon, white or black beans, beets, orange juice, or nonfat or low-fat yogurt. 

 

Potassium may counteract the effects of salt, but it is still a good idea to cut down your sodium intake. Most of our sodium intake comes from processed foods. As we know, processed foods are generally not good for our health, so it is a better idea to stick with whole foods. 

 

Furthermore, taking out alcohol, caffeine, and smoking are also some ways to lower your blood pressure. If you are a coffee or tea lover, switch to decaffeinated options. As for alcohol and smoking, quitting or cutting down your intake can lead to lowered blood pressure, along with countless other health benefits.

 

I Exercise and Eat Healthy...Now What?

Prioritize your mental health. This is something that leads to not only lowering your blood pressure, but several other health benefits as well. 

 

Consider participating in yoga or breathing exercises. These activities can help you de-stress and help you focus on your breathing. We recommend trying the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in through your nose for four counts. Hold your breath for seven counts. Then, breathe out through your mouth for the eight counts. Doing this exercise a few times every day can help you gain control of the stressors in your life. 

 

Meditation also helps with mental health. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and place yourself in a calm and positive environment. Take a mental note of the smells, colors, and feelings of the mental image you have created. 

 

Our advisors at Senior Living Experts hope this helps you with your healthy lifestyle journey. Contact us at seniorlivingexperts.com or call 773-231-7212.

 

 

 

 

 


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Seniors And Health: Promoting Good Nutrition

October 31, 2021

Our senior population often struggles with maintaining proper nutrition. Hurdles can range from breakdown of natural teeth and oral health, consequences of a low income, and memory loss issues. Our advisors at Senior Living Experts have some tips on how to maintain proper nutrition.

 

Seniors that suffer from poor oral health, swallowing difficulties (including aspiration), and inability to use standard eating utensils can suffer from malnutrition. There are a few solutions to this issue:

  • Medical intervention from a dentist to address oral health issues
  • Diets can be modified with thickening agents applied to liquids
  • Grinding and breaking down solid foods. 

 

Soft food diets can help, as well as mixing pureed vegetables into mashed potatoes, or fresh fruit smoothies to gain vital nutrients. Specialized cutlery are designed for arthritic hands and help maintain independence in eating. 

 

A senior on a fixed low income may need to make difficult choices between paying for food and paying for medication. Healthy choices tend to be more expensive than their fast food counterparts, so it is easier to utilize that option. However, there are other solutions to this problem. SNAP benefits and utility assistance can help them stretch their income further.

 

Memory loss can cause a senior to forget to eat, or change their preferences to a very limited scope of foods. Nurses, care staff, and family members can learn how to hide pureed vegetables in a meatloaf, or make banana "ice-cream". Many modifications can be made to standard diets to "hide" nutritious foods in our favorite dishes. 

Nurses can encourage their patients and families to practice suggestions above. More ideas include monitoring weight, medication management, meal prep and reminders, and utilizing community based services like food pantries. Focusing on nutrient rich foods will have a great effect on diet, especially for our seniors that don't eat much.

 

Consequences of malnutrition can include a weakened immune system, delayed wound healing or necrosis, muscle wasting, bone loss, and an increased risk of death. It is important for nurses, care staff, and family members to monitor how much the senior is eating, to prevent this from happening.

 

Promoting a nutrient dense diet and eating with our seniors are good habits to protect our elderly population from malnutrition (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019).

 

Our advisors at Senior Living Experts are available to answer any questions you may have. Visit our website at www.seniorlivingexperts.com or call us at 773-231-7212.


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How to Choose an Appropriate Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility

October 20, 2021

Donna Erickson, creator of Fit Memory, shares a blog with us about how to pick a nursing home or Assisted Living facility.

When seniors have trouble with day-to-day living and help from family doesn’t suffice, moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home for round-the-clock care becomes necessary. You must take your time and do your research before making such a major life-changing decision. Not all care facilities are equal, and the one you choose will determine the senior’s quality of life moving forward.

Below, Senior Living Experts list the critical considerations to make when choosing an appropriate care facility for your loved one (or yourself):

Capacity for independent living

Every senior displays some warning signs they can’t live alone, says The Healthy. You should determine the level of assistance the senior needs with their day-to-day activities such as getting out of bed, using the toilet, walking, and taking medication. If the senior in question can socialize, is mentally sound, doesn’t suffer from serious medical issues, and moves around semi-freely, an assisted living environment may be best suited for them. They can still lead a fulfilling life in a gated community with other people their age.    

Presence of serious medical conditions

When your loved one has serious medical conditions that require constant care and supervision, such as a memory condition or incontinence, a nursing home may be a more suitable environment. Nursing homes provide ongoing care for people with chronic conditions (whereas assisted living facilities offer medical attention as necessary to residents who are generally of good health). Sometimes, as the National Institute on Aging can corroborate, nursing homes double as temporary rehabilitation centers for patients after hospitalization.  

Meal preparation

If the senior has no trouble preparing three meals a day, they can opt for an assisted living facility that has its own kitchenette. Some assisted living facilities also have community dining rooms for shared meals. Nursing homes have special dieticians who prepare meals suited to the senior’s condition and nutritional requirements. Assistance is offered to patients who have trouble feeding themselves.  

Financial condition

An assisted living facility is about half as expensive as a nursing home offering intensive medical care. On average, you can expect to pay $48,000 per year for an assisted living environment. In comparison, a private room at a nursing home will set you back by $102,000, reports U.S. News. Either way, the senior loved one will be expected to foot the bill. When they have insufficient income or assets, they may qualify for Medicaid assistance. Keep in mind that Medicaid covers only some expenses for assisted living, excluding room and board, but can cover almost all nursing home costs.    

With long-term care living arrangements being so expensive, many seniors choose to sell their homes to free up liquidity. If you do sell your home, be thorough with the numbers. Factor in the realtor fees, outstanding mortgage balance, and the sales price at your location to come up with a reliable estimate. You need to be objective about the senior’s financial state to make informed decisions.  

Preferred lifestyle

Your loved one's expectations, hopes, and desires matter. Many seniors are strong-willed and prefer to be independent. They have no desire to move into a “home”. In such cases, an assisted living facility makes for an excellent alternative. They can continue living independently, enjoy activities, hobnob with other seniors, and still get the care they need. Unless you assume guardianship of the person, you can’t force them into a living arrangement against their will.  

The suitability of the care facility

Finally, always evaluate any care home or facility carefully before transferring your loved one there. Here are some items to look at:

  • Audited by healthcare agencies
  • Happiness levels of current residents
  • Quality amenities and care available  
  • Number of staff and turnover rate
  • Affordability

The Senior Living Experts team can help you find the best arrangement for your loved one at a pocket-friendly rate.

Conclusion  

The main difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility is the level of medical care provided. The former is designed for people with serious health conditions who need constant medical assistance. The latter is for semi-independent seniors capable of living in a community environment. Regardless of which senior living arrangement is best suited, always choose an accredited facility with a solid reputation.  

Donna Erickson is a retired public educator. She created Fit Memory with a few friends as a way to promote wellness among senior citizens with the hopes it will help inspire others to make the most of their golden years.

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How Do You Know When it Is Time for Memory Care?

October 10, 2021

Memory Care is a specialized type of care that is equipped for seniors who are diagnosed with a type of cognitive decline, such as the many types of dementia, including Alzheimer's. While starting the senior living search, it is important to have a general idea of what type of care your loved one may need. There are a few signs of cognitive decline that you should be aware of so that you can decide if memory care placement is appropriate now, or in the future. Our advisors at Senior Living Experts can help answer these questions.


Physical Signs

There are several physical signs that can determine whether your loved one should be placed in Memory Care. One of the main physical signs is if they are becoming frail and weak. Those who are beginning to see the signs of dementia might forget to buy groceries,  eat three meals a day, or complete activities of daily living that lead to our overall health. You can also notice this if their fridge is more empty than usual, if there are no signs of foods having been eaten, or nothing in the garbage. 


Other physical changes include:

  • Trouble keeping balance
  • Slouching
  • Bruises and injuries that they do not remember receiving


One other major physical change may be if they look exhausted. Sometimes, those who are experiencing signs of cognitive decline will have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. This happens over consecutive days, so overtime they will become tired and look drowsy. 


Changes in Behavior

If someone begins to notice that they are experiencing signs of dementia, they may act differently than usual. They might feel concerned about their driving skills, ability to interact with their family and friends, or act more aggressive than usual. They also might forget to take care of their daily needs, such as brushing their teeth, changing their clothes, or any other daily routine that involves personal hygiene. 


If your loved one acts more aggressive than usual, it is important to determine if this was harmful to you, or a loved one. If their aggressive behaviors get out of hand, it is best for their safety, and the safety of those around them, to consider placing them in a Memory Care unit. The staff in Memory Care units are trained on how to manage this type of behavior, so it will benefit the senior, along with the senior’s loved ones. The senior does not realize they are acting more aggressively towards their loved ones, so they would also appreciate being with staff who are aware of the behaviors that may come alongside dementia. 


Moreover, anxiety is a common symptom of cognitive decline. This person may realize they are experiencing memory loss, so they may have anxiety about it. Anxiety can also root from their change in behavior as well. They may not feel like themselves,  or they may feel as if they are hurting others around them, which can also be where their anxiety comes from. Either way, monitor whether this anxiety is related to memory loss, or if it is related to any outside factors before considering Memory Care as an option. 


Signs of Memory Loss

Often, people may deny the fact that their loved one is showing signs of memory loss, so they choose to ignore them. However, you must pay close attention to these signs of memory loss, because it could get worse overtime. You want to get them into a Memory Care unit while they can still grasp what is happening, so it is important to monitor these memory loss symptoms when they are still mild. 


Some memory loss signs include: 

  • Forgetting medication (overtaking or undertaking medication)
  • Repetitive actions
  • Feeling suspicious about family members or friends
  • Poor judgement
  • Difficulty organizing their finances
  • General forgetfulness (dates, times, appointments, loved ones)


The nurses who work in Memory Care units are specialized in treating the behaviors involved with memory loss. This will make the resident feel safer, happier, and well taken care of. It will also put them in a place where they can exercise their brains, engage in activity, as socialization is key in combating cognitive decline. Signs of memory loss are important to monitor, and should be acted upon as soon as possible so the senior can reside in the most supportive living arrangement that meets the needs of your loved one.


Senior Living Experts can help with this process of finding a senior living community that best fits the residents needs. Our advisors are happy to answer any more of your questions. You can contact us at 773-231-7212 or visit www.seniorlivingexperts.com.

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Medicaid Spend Down Guide and FAQ

October 6, 2021

If you’re looking for senior living in Lombard, there’s a good chance you’ve seen how expensive eldercare can get. Even if you have a healthy income, you may be unsure that you’ll be able to cover all your medical expenses.

This is where Medicaid spend down comes in. Below, we’ll explain what Medicaid spend down is and answer some frequently asked questions about it. We hope this helps you determine your best options for financing your healthcare costs.

What Is Medicaid Spend Down?

If your income and assets disqualify you from Medicaid, you can still get help paying for your medical expenses. You just need to spend your “excess income,” i.e., the income that prevents you from being eligible for Medicaid.

Medicaid spend down can be compared to a deductible: once you put a certain portion of your income and assets towards the cost of medical care, you’re eligible to receive coverage for the rest of it.

To give an example, let’s say you’re making $100 more per month than the Medicaid income limit. Once you’ve spent that $100, you’ll be eligible to receive Medicaid benefits.

What Expenses Qualify for Medicaid Spend Down?

Typically, people meet the limits for their spend down using medical bills, including but not limited to:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Hospital bills
  • Prescription costs
  • In-home care
  • Health insurance
  • Medical equipment (e.g., eyeglasses)

The rule of thumb is simple: if an expense would be covered by Medicaid, it will probably count towards your Medicaid spend down. This means that dental, podiatric, and chiropractic services all count toward your Medicaid spend down.

Along with these, there are some expenses that you may not immediately think of as being medical expenses. Transportation to healthcare services and modifications to your home designed to help you keep living in it safely are both considered essential. This means they are covered.

What Other Expenses Can Be Used to Help Me Reach My Medicaid Spend Down Goal?

Along with medical expenses, you can also include paying off debt when working towards your Medicaid spend down. While this can be medical debt, it also includes credit card debt, mortgages and car payments.

What If Someone Else Paid for a Medical Expense?

If someone else paid for your medical bill, you can still count it towards your Medicaid spend down. That said, you can only do so if they expect to be paid back for that expense. This is essentially a form of medical debt.

Forms of Proof for Medicaid Spend Down

There are two ways to show that you qualify for Medicaid spend down because of the expenses you’re paying for: bills and receipts. Receipts will show the expenses that you have paid for, while bills will show those that you haven’t.

Can I Use the Same Bill to Meet My Medicaid Spend Down Over Multiple Months?

If the entirety of a bill’s amount was counted toward your Medicaid spend down limit one month, you cannot use it another month. However, you can split the total cost of a bill over multiple months if this helps you meet your Medicaid spend down limit.

Is Medicaid Spend Down the Same in Every State?

No, Medicaid spend down rules vary based on the state you’re in, so it’s important to ensure you understand the rules and regulations in your area. In this article, we’re discussing Medicaid spend down in Illinois.

What Is the Maximum Income to Qualify for Medicaid in Illinois?

Medicaid income and asset limits vary based on marital status.  

Unmarried applicants can’t have more than $2,000 worth of assets. They also can’t make more than $1,073 per month. Married applicants applying together can’t make more than $1,452 per month, and they can’t have assets totaling more than $3,000.

Does Social Security Disqualify Me from Receiving Medicaid?

You can receive both Social Security and Medicaid, but the money you receive from Social Security will count as part of your income when determining Medicaid eligibility.

What Counts as a Countable Asset?

If assets could be used to pay for medical expenses, you need to liquidate them and use the money before qualifying for Medicaid.  

Your home and car don’t typically count toward this, since they are both essential living expenses, though there are some exceptions in the case of high-value homes (e.g., homes worth more than one million dollars). Furniture and common household items also don’t count.

While you are allowed to have assets outside of the exceptions, they cannot be valued at more than $2,000.

Can Any of My Past Assets Count Against Me?

When applying for Medicaid, the program will look back over the last five years of assets you held. This is known as the Five-Year Look-Back Period, and it is designed to prevent people from quickly giving away assets to qualify for the program.

This means that any assets that were given, or sold below market value, are counted against your spend down limit when you’re trying to get Medicaid.

Typical examples of this include gifts given to children, or even trusts you’ve set up for them. However, there are some financial arrangements that you may not even consider, such as paying a caregiver without having a formal care agreement.

How Long Will Medicaid Cover My Expenses Once I’ve Reached My Spend Down Goal?

Illinois counts Medicaid income limits on a month-by-month basis. This means that, once you’ve reached your spend down goal, you will be covered by Medicaid for the rest of the month.

For this reason, some people choose the months they get a medical card for. You need to continually meet the spend down goal every month in order to continue qualifying for Medicaid.

Because Medicaid income and asset limits are assessed on a monthly basis, you need to be mindful of any gifts you receive, and how they can impact your eligibility for Medicaid. If, for instance, you receive an inheritance, this will count as an asset that needs to be spent until you are eligible for Medicaid again.

Get Expert Senior Living Advisors in Lombard and the Surrounding Area

If you’re looking for senior living in Illinois or Wisconsin, you’ve come to the right place. At Senior Living Experts, we’re committed to helping seniors understand the options they have for living the best life possible.

We have home health providers, elder law attorneys, financial planners, SRES realtors, insurance experts, and more, all ready to assist you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out in order to speak with one of our experts.

We have home health providers, elder law attorneys, financial planners, SRES realtors, insurance experts ready to assist you. Call us today for assistance!

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Welcome to the Team, Bill!

September 23, 2021

Senior Living Experts welcomes our new advisor, Bill! Bill answered a few questions as a way to introduce himself.

1.   Where Are You From?  

I grew up on the North Shore, in Glenview and went to High School in Wilmette and finished at Loyola University in Chicago.

 

2.   Who Are The People That Influenced You Most?

My parents and family. I grew up in a large family, 5 kids, and we were very close. My dad worked hard but was always around. He treated others with love and respect.  I also learned a lot about business from my first few Sales Managers. I am proud of what I do and value my partners.

 

3.   What Led You To A Career In Senior Living?

I had a 25 year career in advertising sales and wanted to move to a space where I could help others in a more meaningful way. I have a mentor who steered me toward Senior Living and I can say that I truly love working with Seniors and their families.

 

4.   What Is One Of Your Most Memorable Moments While Working In The Industry?

Although there are so many good solutions for Seniors out there today, I have become a really big fan of Memory Care. Memory care has become such an important part of what we do and is such a wonderful solution for so many that didn’t have that option in the past.

 

5.   What’s the biggest misconception people will have about your new position?

There are so many! I think the biggest is that people think every Community is an Assisted Living “Facility” and there is this false vision of very old, very sick people. Senior Communities are wonderful, active places full of folks living full and active lives.

 

6.   What’s your guilty pleasure?  

I don’t feel guilty in saying that I love to get away! I have a home in Door County and spend as much time there (on the water if possible) as I can.  I also love to spend as much time as I can with my kids who are some of my best friends.

Welcome to the team, Bill. We are so excited for you to help families in Wisconsin and in the City of Chicago!

 

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A Basic Guide to Assisted Living

September 9, 2021

The older people get, the more they’ll crave independence. As their physical and mental capabilities slowly degrade, their biggest fear is that one day they might not be able to do the things they normally do. The majority of the elderly do not want to be stripped of their independence. Some of them may deny their need for help without realizing how dangerous this could be. Luckily, there is a way to get help while allowing seniors to be as independent as they can be. That’s what assisted living in WI offers.  

According to surveys, one in every five American adults ages 85 years old and above say they need or are currently are receiving assistance with activities of daily living. If you are on the brink of burnout from being a 24/7 caregiver to your parents, now is the time to consider assisted living.  

Understanding Assisted Living

What Is Assisted Living?

An assisted living community is a place designed for the older population. It’s a place that provides personalized care in a homey environment. This community is best for seniors who require special care and support.

To qualify, the elderly will have to undergo a thorough health assessment based on state regulations. Aside from assistance, assisted living communities to promote social interaction and help seniors lead a healthy lifestyle.  

What Are the Services Offered in Assisted Living?

You might wonder what’s in it for your loved ones if they are placed in assisted living. Well, some of the usual services being offered in these communities include bathroom assistance, help in grooming and dressing, medication management, social activities and programs, transportation and laundry services, meals, and housekeeping.  

The major advantage of an assisted living community is that your loved ones get 24/7 care. No matter what time of day it is, a staff member will always be available to offer assistance whether it’s support, care, or safety.

All residents are encouraged to bring some of their personal possessions so that they will be comfortable and at ease in their new home.  

Before your loved ones are taken in, they will be assessed so that the facility can create a personalized service plan to meet their unique needs and to make the care personal. This will aid in their transition since they will be getting the service they expect and paid for.

There are also assisted living communities that offer memory care services for residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In memory care, the residents will have different dining rooms and their food will be individualized as it will be based on their needs.  

What Services Are Not Offered in Assisted Living?

Most people think assisted living is similar to nursing home care or a skilled nursing facility. Well, it’s not. In a skilled nursing facility, all the residents are cared for by specially trained medical personnel.  

This is ideal for residents who require a high level of medical care regardless of if it’s a long-term or short-term stay. Extended care and skilled nursing care are licensed by Medicaid or Medicare. Their primary goals are short-term rehab and long-term medical care.

You’ve probably already heard of supportive services before. Each state has a different definition of supportive services.

There are times when the level of care of supportive services is the same as assisted living but most times they are for adults with developmental disabilities.  

What Are Examples of Activities of Daily Living?  

The most common reason why family members want to take their loved ones to an assisted living facility is that the elderly can no longer perform activities of daily living on their own.

According to research, ideal candidates are those who need help with at least two daily activities. Studies reveal that residents need help with the following ADLs:  

  • 64 percent need help with bathing
  • 57 percent need assistance with walking
  • 48 percent require help with dressing
  • 40 percent cannot go to the toilet on their own
  • 29 percent need support with bed transfer
  • 19 percent cannot eat on their own

What’s It Like to Be Living in an Assisted Living Community?

If you’re familiar with independent living, then it’s easy to imagine what assisted living communities are like since they share a lot of similarities, as both offer some of the same benefits. These communities also offer unique programs tailored to the needs of the residents.

Statistics show that assisted living communities are thriving. In fact, in the U.S. alone there are approximately more than 29,000 assisted living facilities.

Although each community comes in various settings, all of them share the same goals: to treat the elderly with the utmost respect and offering privacy while promoting independence.  

What Are the Benefits of Assisted Living?

The benefits go beyond helping residents with activities of daily living. Family members who have sent their parents to assisted living communities say they noticed a significant improvement in their loved one's quality of life. Another benefit is that the burden is lifted off the shoulders of caregivers. This makes the lives of both parties easier.

A Quality of Life in Assisted Living Survey conducted in 2019 showed that 87 percent of elderly residing in assisted living communities and 78 percent of family members are extremely satisfied with their overall experience with assisted living.  

Is It Time to Take Your Loved Ones to an Assisted Living Community?

It’s not an easy decision to give up your role as a caregiver, but sometimes you need to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Can you truly commit to becoming a 24/7 caregiver? Will you be able to give up your job and your life in general just to care for your parents?  

At some point, you’ll need to make a decision to make everyone’s lives easier and less stressful. You can start by checking if your parents have had at least one fall in the past year, if they can no longer prepare their own meals, or if you think their nutritional needs aren’t met.  

If you notice your senior parents have a hard time maneuvering around the house or if they need help with bathing and getting dressed, then you need to start considering assisted living communities.

Are You Looking for Assisted Living in WI?

Are you searching for an assisted living community for your loved ones? Look no further. At Senior Living Experts, our advisors will work closely with you and your family to assist you in finding the best place for your parents. We have been working with over 230 communities and we’ve helped hundreds of seniors live better and more comfortable lives with the array of options we offer. Call us today to learn more about our services.

At Senior Living Experts, our advisors will work closely with you and your family to assist you in finding the best place for your parents. Call us today!

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What happens next?

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Discovery

Your expert advisor will accumulate information necessary for proper placement, such as your needs, location, and budget.

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Recommendations

We provide numerous recommendations based on the details provided. Our goal is to combine your needs with our knowledge of senior communities.

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Tours

Your advisor will accompany you on tours so your search can be as thorough as possible. We want what’s best for your loved ones just as much as you do.

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Follow-ups

After a choice has been made and your loved one has moved into their new home, we will continuously check in to make sure everything is going well.

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Together, let’s begin the journey to finding the home that will enhance the life of your family.

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