Serving Illinois and Wisconsin

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 Alzheimers. 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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Are Senior Living Communities Safe?

August 17, 2021

How safe is senior living help in Chicagoland? This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions and it’s perfectly understandable because family members are concerned about the safety of their loved ones. Unfortunately, senior living is sometimes uncharted territory. 

It’s not something you talk about over dinner. However, when you’re living with seniors, you may at some point consider senior living, especially if no one in the family is willing to commit to becoming full-time caregivers. 

The sad reality of life is that when people age, their energy, stamina, cognition, and their ability to fend for themselves may diminish. For some, it happens abruptly while for others it could manifest during their later years. They become prone to diseases, accidents, injuries, and their overall health and well-being may be compromised if they continue living life without assistance. 

This is when you should start talking about senior living. Unfortunately, many families are apprehensive to give senior living a try because they are concerned about the safety of their loved ones. So, do senior living facilities provide safety to seniors?  

Senior Living Help Chicagoland

Is It Safe to Leave the Elderly in A Senior Living Facility?

What Are Senior Safety Risks?

Recent studies from the National Safety Council revealed that in the year 2019, there were approximately 131,400 deaths in the home that were all injury-related. And the sad part of it all was that these deaths could have been prevented. 

The statistics increase at a rate of nearly five percent every year. The top leading causes of death are poisoning, which accounts for fifty percent, while falls follow next accounting for twenty-nine percent of the total deaths. 

It was found that seniors with ages sixty-five years and above are more prone to falls compared to the younger generation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one out of four seniors experience falls each year. When an elderly falls once, they are likely to fall again. In America, the death rates that are related to having increased up to thirty percent. 

Unfortunately, it has become pretty common for seniors who are left alone at home to accidentally slip and fall. When no one is around, they won’t be able to get the help they need. 

Senior Living Help Chicagoland

Picture this scenario. You’re off to work and you left your 75 year-old grandmother in the house. Her memory is still sharp, and she has your phone number. Your instructions were very clear and that if anything happens, she should call you immediately. 

It’s nine in the morning, which means it’s bath time. She goes to the bathroom, but the tiles are still wet. She slips and falls. 

Her legs and knees are too weak to carry the weight of her body. She attempts to stand but she just doesn’t have the strength. She wanted to reach the phone to call you and to let you know what happened but how can she do that if she can’t even get herself to stand up? 

This is a typical example of why many consider taking their loved ones to senior living communities. Unless they are able to cut their hours at work and devote a large portion to being their grandparent’s caregiver.

Lucky, if the impact isn’t strong. Some seniors become unconscious after a fall, which makes it even more dangerous. 

Another potential problem is poisoning. Did you know that seniors can get poisoned by carelessly taking the wrong medications or the wrong dosage? When they mix up meds and dosages, they are putting themselves at unnecessary risk.

Aside from poisoning, other risks include fire and smoke, choking, mechanical suffocation, and drowning. When no one is at home with the elderly, they won’t be able to get help when they need it and their health, safety, and life could be at risk. 

How Do Senior Living Communities Offer Safety?

Senior living communities all aim to provide safety to residents. They have trained, knowledgeable, and skilled staff that ensures all the needs of your loved ones are satisfactorily met. The communities are uniquely designed for seniors. 

The hallways and doorways are wide and the units only have one floor. The layout is also carefully thought out and is equipped with safety features such as grip bars in toilets, showers, and bathtubs.  

The toilets are also raised and the floors are slip-resistant. Furthermore, the lights are bright enough to illuminate the space allowing seniors to clearly see where they are going. Safety locks are also provided in pools and spas. 

The seniors also have access to wheelchairs. Senior living homes are also equipped with intercoms and emergency systems. Regular wellness checks are also practiced to ensure that the health of the residents is always monitored. Whenever their needs change, the care changes as well. 

The facilities also have security guards manning the entrances and exists to monitor visitors. Anyone who wishes to visit should sign at the front desk and log in their names and their time of visit. This added security proves that senior living communities are indeed safe 24/7. 

Senior Living Help Chicagoland

Are You Interested in Finding Senior Living Help in Chicagoland?

Caring for seniors is a tough job. In fact, tough is an understatement. Family members who “tried” to take care of seniors at home ended up frustrated, disappointed, angry and burnt out and that’s because providing care to this age group will really test your patience. 

It also requires expertise and knowledge to keep them safe. Senior living facilities offer medication management, healthy and nutritious meals, and other forms of therapy that are designed to improve their quality of life. If this is what you need, we can help you. 

At Senior Living Experts, our advisors will work closely with you and your family to help you to find the best place for your parents. We have been working with over two hundred and thirty communities and we’ve helped hundreds of seniors live better and more comfortable lives with the array of options we offer.  

Our staff received ample training to cater to the needs of the elderly. They are ready to provide care whenever necessary. Call us today to learn more about our services. 

How safe is senior living help in Chicagoland? Senior Living Experts is here to give you the answers you're looking for. Contact us today to learn more.

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Celebrating “Healthy Aging Month” During September - HomeWatch Caregivers Home Care

August 6, 2021

Our partner, Dennise Vaughn, Administrator at HomeWatch Caregivers Home Care, shares a blog with us about Healthy Aging Month occurring this September!

We can’t fight aging, although sometime we sure try!  As we age, health becomes more important.  Thanks to improvements in medicine and health, we live longer lives now.  As such, it’s even more important than ever before to develop healthy habits as we get older.

 

September is Healthy Aging Month, which was designated in order to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. The “Healthy Aging Campaign” was established 15 years ago, and since then, individuals help others become aware of their physical and mental health, diet, social skills and even financial situations; all factors that contribute to successful aging.

 

Healthy Aging Month encourages to act how you feel — instead of acting your age!  This month also encourages our seniors to take charge of their well-being, by aging with a healthy body  (physical health) and a healthiest mind (mental health).

 

There are many ways to use Healthy Aging Month as inspiration to being celebrating life, and the month is dedicated to helping individuals gain a more positive outlook about growing older.  And while genetics play a role when it comes to aging, seniors still can take steps to encourage better health.

 

Tips To Make The Most Of “Healthy Aging Month”

 

Get Moving and Get Going

If you are not accustomed to exercise, consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine and be sure to start slowly to allow plenty of time to get used to each level of activity.

 

Exercise can be as simple as walking just ten or fifteen minutes, three to four times a week and increasing as you go. For those who are more active, try taking up tennis or joining a club where you can swim or use the exercise equipment.  Even just taking a dance class or senior yoga, gardening or mowing the lawn.  There are countless ways to stay active that will keep your body moving.

 

Eat Well

Make sure you watch your portion sizes.  Many Americans aren’t aware of proper portion sizes and inevitably eat larger portions than recommended, and we all know overeating leads to obesity — which could lead to even bigger health concerns such as diabetes or heart disease. Plus as we age, our metabolism slows down and we need fewer calories.

 

Healthy eating is a big part of staying healthy.  Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and try to avoid excessive processed foods. Boosting the amount of fresh vegetables in our diet is an easy way to feel full without a lot of calories. The USDA suggests an easy way to balance nutrition: your plate should have slightly less than one quarter proteins (lean meat, fish, poultry or legumes) and fruits, slightly more than one quarter grains and vegetables. Additionally, stay hydrated by drink a lot of water, at least 6-8 glasses per day.

 

Stay Social and Make Friends

Don’t be afraid to make new friends, and make an effort to see your old friends, too. A sedentary lifestyle devoid of interaction with friends and family lead to health issues and isolation can lead to depression. Instead of feeling lonely and bored reach out and invite friends and family over!  Or you can socialize with others by volunteering, joining a class or bringing a caregiver — which may in to help you look forward to activities such as cooking with their help, playing cards/games, or simply talking.

 

If you can no longer drive, look for transportation services that can help you get out and attend social events. If you’re computer literate, schedule Facetime conversations with children and grandchildren. Just by interact with and talk to someone daily, you will do your mind and mental health a world of good.

 

Balance Both Your Body & Mind

Keep your mind active by reading the newspaper (or read on your tablet) while you eat breakfast. Keeping your mind active and engaged may ward off brain chemistry changes that could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Working on puzzles, reading books are also great for the mind and will help reduce stress that comes with aging problems. You can even take up a new creative hobby! For your body, perhaps practice yoga to improve your flexibility and balance. It is also great for the mind and will help reduce stress that comes with aging problems.

 

Get Regular Check-Ups And Yearly Physicals

Don’t ignore symptoms. If you’re not feeling well, don’t “wait for it to go away.” While you don’t need to visit the doctor for every ailment, know yourself and your body well enough to detect if there is something out of the ordinary.

 

Don’t neglect regular medical check ups; have an annual physical examination. and schedule the tests your doctor recommends. This would include your eye doctor and dentist as well as your physician. Many diseases can be prevented when caught early if you remain diligent about your health.  Take medications and vitamins/supplements as prescribed in order to ensure you are feeling your best.

Stay Positive

A positive outlook and proactive approach is one of the best ways to encourage healthy aging!  Here’s how to get the most out of life as you age.

  • Positive Attitude – Keep a positive attitude through life. Focus on the positive, taking hold of any problems and addressing them properly and you will find that you will be happier in your life.
  • Don’t “Act Your Age” – Forget that “number” – it’s only a number, after all!  Live life looking forward to activities and actions that make you smile and forget about your age!
  • Be Proactive – Take charge of your health and research the many ways you can use your Health Insurance to take proactive steps in keeping healthy. You’re entitled to a variety of healthcare screenings as you get older; and it’s important to know exactly what tests and screenings you should behaving, based on your age and gender.
  • Try Something New – It’s never too late to make changes and become a whole new you! Take up a new hobby, learn a language, take a class, or join a book club. Making your life interesting is one of the best ways to focus on healthy aging.
  • Embrace Your Creativity – You may be surprised that you have an artistic side to you if you check out classes on painting, sketching or drawing. If your art talents are limited try adult coloring books that you can color with pencils.
  • Surround Yourself With Positivity – Your mental health plays a very important part in healthy aging and surrounding yourself with people who make you smile and laugh makes healthy aging even easier.
  • Focusing on both your mental — as well as physical — well being, in order to feel more “alive” as you embark on a new journey of healthy aging.

 

Fighting Back Against “Nature”

Finally, it’s a good idea to look at the health history of your family.  Do research on your family tree to see how old relatives were when they passed, and talk over with your physician your family history.  Your health care provider is able to provide insight on how to with with him or her to assure you’re fighting nature and genetics to assure you have the longest, healthiest life possible.

 

You can beat some genetic diseases by adopting a healthier lifestyle and by embracing healthy options you take the preventive actions to help assure you’re as healthy as you can be as you move into your 60s, 70s and beyond.

 

Remaining active and engaged is the best gift you can give yourself. Staying physically and mentally active, and nurturing social connections with friends and family, are all part of the bigger picture in helping to keep your mind and body well!

 

Embrace healthy aging!  If you are looking for other resources to support aging adults, please visit us at Homewatch CareGivers at www.homewatchcaregivers.com/naperville/

www.homewatchcaregivers.com/lockport/

 


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Signs Your Loved Ones Need Memory Care 

July 14, 2021

Many factors contribute to forgetfulness – anxiety, depression, alcohol use, stress, under-active thyroid, lack of sleep, and certain medications have all been found to cause memory slips. However, if forgetfulness becomes a constant companion of your loved ones to the point where their safety is at risk, you may want to take them to memory care in Geneva.

Caring for seniors who have dementia can be overwhelming. It’s a full-time job that requires you to be on alert twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.

If you have a job and if you have a family yourself, it’s not realistic to commit to being your loved one's caregiver unless you’re willing to make certain sacrifices. To make your life less stressful, the best decision you can make for the entire family is to consider a memory care facility.  

 

Elderly couple walking outside hand-in-hand at Memory Care in Geneva 

When Should You Take Your Loved Ones to a Memory Care Facility?

When Does A Doctor Suggest Memory Care?

When seniors meet with their doctors during appointments they don’t mention memory loss problems. More often than not, it’s their children who bring it up. It can be challenging to monitor signs of dementia. 

But, there are obvious signs that signal the need to get seniors to a memory care facility. Examples include disheveled hair, a significant drop in weight, and seniors who aren’t tidily dressed. 

Dementia is also evident when the senior cannot carry a conversation, feels lost, or is agitated. When all these signs are present, the doctor will conduct a mental status exam to check if the patient has dementia.

If a person isn’t capable of performing activities of daily living like bathing, eating, or dressing then transitioning to memory care is a good option because in there they’ll find all the help and assistance they’ll need to function optimally.

To assess the safety and abilities of the seniors, the doctor may ask the following questions:

  • Do you frequently get lost on your way to the grocery store or when walking around your neighborhood? 
  • Do you have a hard time remembering if you ate or drank? 
  • Do you take your medications during the appropriate times? 

If your loved ones answered yes to all these, the doctor may recommend a mental status exam and suggest that it’s time to think about memory care.

The safety of your loved ones is at risk if they start leaving appliances on like the stove or burner after they are done cooking if they get bruises and injuries and can’t remember how they got it if there have been frequent visits to the emergency room and if they wander or get lost in dangerous and public places.  

 

When Is Memory Care Appropriate?

Answering the questions below will help you decide if it’s time to take your loved ones to a memory care facility.  

1. Did some of your friends and family comment about the changes in the behavior of your parents?  

According to doctors, family members especially the caregivers don’t notice changes in their parents’ behaviors unless someone points it out to them. It can be difficult to monitor the progress of their dementia if you’re always around them. 

An example is weight loss. If you see your parents daily you won’t be able to notice their weight loss. The drastic weight change will be obvious to a family member or a friend who hasn’t seen them in quite a while. 

2. Is your elderly parent showing signs of agitation or confusion? 

Seniors who suffer from dementia often experience agitation and confusion. More than not, this leads to aggression and violence. Seniors tend to bite, hit, or even kick their caregivers. It’s also common for them to manipulate and verbally abuse their caregivers. 

According to doctors, patients with dementia insult or accuse family and friends of theft. In fact, when they are asked about their dementia during a consultation they get defensive and agitated. This alone is a sign that they need professional help and assistance. 

The manifestation of aggression due to dementia can be dangerous especially if the patient is being cared for by his or her elderly spouse as this can result in elder abuse. 

3. Has your aging parent become nervous or withdrawn?

One of the signs that seniors suffer from dementia is when they start declining social invitations or when they begin to withdraw from social interactions. Although it’s normal for the aging population to experience a decline in their energy levels, what’s not normal is when they show disinterest and avoid activities they used to love and enjoy. 

Another thing to look out for is nervousness. Do they feel nervous when they go on walks by themselves or when they leave the house? Mention these to your doctor during your parent’s next doctor’s appointment.

4. Are they able to meet their hygiene needs?

If seniors start forgetting their daily hygiene practices from changing clothes to brushing their teeth and taking a bath you need to consider memory care. 

Some of them don’t ask for help because they don’t want to feel humiliated but even if they don’t tell you, you can already tell they are struggling from the way they look. When your parents look neglected, that’s already a red flag. 

5. Does your parent wander off? 

Healthy elderly don’t wander off but once they do, plus when they show signs of disorientation and confusion, you need to let their doctor know about this behavior change. Seniors who wander far from their residence can go into dangerous places like busy streets or getting lost outside their neighborhood during bad weather.

Smiling elderly man at Memory Care in Geneva 

 

Is It Time To Take Your Loved One to a Memory Care in Geneva? 

By now, you should have already consulted with a doctor. If your loved one has dementia and if no one in the family can take care of the senior parent, then yes, it is time to take your parent to a memory care facility.

 Memory care centers offer various services that will give your loved ones a pleasant living experience. They will be safe since the facility offers 24/7 monitoring with professional staff that’s always ready to assist in grooming, bathing, medication and nutrition management and so much more. 

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

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

If your loved one's forgetfulness gets to the point where their safety is at risk, you may want to take them to memory care in Geneva. Give us a call today!

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9 Financial Planning Steps for a Smooth Transition to Senior Living

July 6, 2021

The time may come that a move to a community that can best meet the physical and medical needs of a loved one is in their best interest. When their strength, physical, or cognitive abilities are deteriorating, getting financial ducks in a row can be a challenge. Having a plan to get things organized can be invaluable.

Follow this checklist to ensure you're not missing anything:

1.    Gather all statements and legal documents together in one place

2.   Sort them into three piles: assets, liabilities, and legal

3.   Assets are anything that is owned: home, investments, insurance policies, etc.  Liabilities refer to anything that is owed: mortgage, loans, credit cards, medical bills, etc. Legal documents if drafted, are powers of attorneys, trust, will, deeds, or other documents prepared by an attorney.

4.    If estate planning documents exist, confirm powers of attorney are still in force. If not, contact an attorney to draft new documents if your loved one has the capacity to sign.

5.    Scour bank statements for all sources of current income (Social Security, pension, investments, or annuities).

6.    Review statements for ongoing monthly expenses (insurance, mortgage, utilities, or credit cards).

7.    If the home is owned and potentially will be sold, reach out to a Realtor® to get a comparative market analysis(CMA) to determine the approximate value of the home.  If ready to sell, sign a listing agreement. Discuss with the Realtor® what modifications might significantly improve the potential sales price and consider if improvements may be beneficial.

8.    Based on current income and expenses, build a preliminary monthly budget. Compare current expenses to proposed expenses after a contemplated move to a new community. If the new living expenses exceed the current income sources, determine what the funding gap is.

9.    Schedule an appointment with a financial professional to review options to increase potential income from investments and determine a proper strategy to optimize the proceeds of a real estate sale.

Helping a loved one move onto the next chapter of their life is not an experience that most adult children have navigated. Working with a team that is experienced with similar transitions is a great way to ensure your ducks are all in a row.

For questions on managing the financial planning for a transition to senior living, visit www.S2Wealth.com/wealth-and-health-assessments to take the Living Transitions Assessment or contact Keith Piscitello, CFP® CRPC® at 773-867-3660 or keith.piscitello@LFG.com

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The Four Levels of Hospice Care - An Overview from Transitions Hospice

July 2, 2021

At Transitions Hospice, true to our Commandments, we believe that hospice should never be a “one size fits all” approach. That’s why we are proud to provide multiple levels of care, as recognized by Medicare. For most patients over the age of 65, hospice care is paid for by the Medical Hospice Benefit. Medicare identifies four distinctive levels of hospice care: routine home care, continuous home care, general inpatient care, and respite care. Individuals utilizing hospice may utilize all four levels throughout their hospice experience, or only one, depending on their needs and desires.

Routine Home Care is the most basic level of hospice care. In this stage, care teams serve the patients wherever they reside. The team includes registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, certified nurse’s aides, social workers, volunteers, physicians, dietitians, and chaplains, and offers a comprehensive plan of care that is tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Medications and medical equipment are brought directly to the patient or caregiver, and our care team develops a plan of care and visits frequently to meet the patient’s needs.

When an individual is experiencing symptoms that cause severe pain and require frequent interventions, such as medication administration, the patient will qualify for Continuous hospice care. In this level of care, a nurse or certified nursing aide (CNA) will remain at the bedside for as long as the patient qualifies for continuous care. The goal of continuous care is to get a patient’s symptoms under control to a point where they are manageable with routine hospice care. Continuous care is important because it allows the patient to remain at home through a difficult time instead of being uprooted into a hospital. Some examples of acute conditions that may require continuous hospice care include: uncontrolled pain, trouble breathing, extreme nausea, changes in consciousness, and seizures.

When symptoms require an advanced level of care that is beyond routine hospice or continuous care, a patient will enter the “inpatient” level of hospice. This often occurs when the patient needs 24-hour pain control or acute or complex symptom management that cannot be provided at home. In its entirety, the goal of inpatient care is to control severe pain and symptoms so that the patient can return home to familiar surroundings and continue with routine hospice care. This level of care can be provided within a skilled nursing facility or any facility contracted to operate an inpatient unit.

Finally, the fourth level of hospice care is respite care, where a home hospice patient is admitted into a facility for a short period of time. The goal of this care is to provide a short-term break for family caregivers who are assisting a loved one with an advanced illness. These services can be offered at any hospital, hospice facility, or skilled nursing facility that is able to provide 24-hour care. It is essential that those taking care of loved ones are able to take breaks and avoid “caregiver burnout”. These “breaks” can last up to 5 days and plans for respite care are developed directly with family members of the patient.

We are proud to be able to provide all levels of care within Transitions Hospice, and hope to help you and your loved ones determine the best course of care for all of your end-of-life needs. For more information about Transitions Hospice, please call 877-726-6494 or visit www.transitionshospice.com.

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What are the Differences Between Assisted Living and Independent Senior Living?

June 7, 2021

As much as you’d like to keep a close watch on your aging parents, sometimes the demands of work and your personal life will get in the way. If you could have it your way, you’d want to be there for your loved ones to cater to their needs, but you also have needs of your own. Can you put your life on hold for your parents? Even though they don’t demand your time, you know deep down that their growing needs would require you to be there for them physically 24/7. Lucky for you, senior living in Gurnee can take this burden off your shoulders.  

Senior living may seem like uncharted territory for most of us. Leaving your parents in a facility you’re not familiar with and entrusting their safety and security to strangers may seem daunting.  

But, if you dig deeper, do your research, and understand the professional services these institutions offer and how long they’ve been in the industry, you’ll appreciate the perks of senior and assisted living. It will give you peace of mind, and it will help your loved ones enjoy their life without compromising their independence, health, safety, and happiness.

Assisted living and independent senior living are not the same. Learn the difference between the two, so you and your parents can decide which center is the best option.

Senior Living in Gurnee

What are the Differences Between Assisted Living and Independent Senior Living?

Daily Amenities

In terms of amenities, assisted living facilities offer support and assistance to seniors when they need it. Most of the seniors that opt for assisted living are housed in apartments or condominiums where they live close to other members. Whenever they need help, all they need to do is to push a button, and they’ll receive assistance ASAP.

Examples of life tasks that are available to them include cleaning, shopping, meal prep, bathing, grooming, medications, and keeping doctor’s appointments. The range of services isn’t fixed. They can be adjusted based on the health and needs of the residents.

Senior living, or independent living, does not offer nursing support and medical care. These facilities concentrate more on maintaining an active lifestyle and offering convenience to seniors.  

Medical Care

Assisted living is a good option for seniors who are not capable of living alone but also do not require intensive nursing care. When your loved one is in an independent living facility, their independence is persevered, which means there is no access to nursing and medical care. In a way, independent living offers peace of mind to seniors who do not feel at ease living alone.  

Independent living is a good and healthy place for people who do not experience difficulty in performing daily basic activities.

However, when seniors are no longer capable of attending to their basic needs or if they can’t make a decision on their own without asking for help, then they need to be in an assisted living home care.  

Senior Living in Gurnee

Access to Staff

When your loved one is placed in an independent living community, they won’t have regular contact with the staff. The assistance they’ll be receiving from the staff will depend on their preference. For example, if they want to subscribe to a meal service, then that’s the only time they’ll see the staff. Otherwise, they can keep to themselves if they prefer a quieter and more peaceful living situation.

Meanwhile, with assisted living, the staff is always present and visible to check and monitor the condition of the residents. Even though they are not authorized to diagnose, they are obliged to continuously monitor seniors to make sure they are well, healthy, and thriving.

Cost

At an independent senior living community, it’s more of a lifestyle preference instead of senior care. Since the services are fewer, the cost is more affordable. However, this service is not normally covered by insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare.

Assisted living, on the other hand, costs more depending on the level of care the residents need. Since the services are more extensive going beyond basic care, expect to pay more. The services offered with assisted living are usually covered by employee benefit programs and insurance companies.  

Family Involvement

As the needs of seniors continue to increase as they age, it’s not unlikely for family members to feel burned out or depressed after devoting so much of their time caring for them. This is not an easy job, especially if family members have to juggle work, personal, and family time.

Independent living is a win-win service because it gives you peace of mind knowing that someone is looking out for your loved ones while you’re busy with work. At the same time, the services they are receiving give them comfort, security, safety, entertainment, and support, so they will not feel lonely, afraid, or isolated. If family members wish to offer help and assistance, they are free to do so.  

With assisted living, the burden of being 24/7 caregivers is removed from the family members because the staff of the facility will shoulder all the responsibilities of caring for your loved ones.

You won’t have to worry about missed medications or reminding them to eat or feel scared that they might hurt themselves while they’re bathing or grooming. All these are being professionally handled by the staff.

Senior Living iGurnee

Do Your Loved Ones Need Assisted Senior Living in Gurnee?

Discuss the needs of your loved ones and base your decision as a family on those needs. Would your loved ones’ health be at risk if they were alone in their home? If yes, then you may want to consider assisted living.

Are they healthy but feel lonely? If yes, then they might feel less lonely if they were in a senior living community where they get to interact with other residents. The answers to these questions will help determine what type of facility is best suitable for them.

At Senior Living Experts, our advisors will work closely with you and your family to help you find 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 wide range of options we offer. Call us today to learn more about assisted living and senior living.

Senior living in Gurnee can help your loved one live a fulfilling life, but is independent or dependent living right for them? Senior Living Experts is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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Understanding Alzheimer's and the Need for Expert Care

May 11, 2021

Alzheimer’s and dementia are not synonymous. Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to conditions caused by diseases or brain injuries that negatively impact a person’s behavior, thinking, and memory. This is a cause for concern especially for seniors because not only will it interfere with their activities of daily living but it will also compromise their safety.

If you are living with a parent who has Alzheimer’s, we know it’s a tough 24/7 full-time job. This means that you may have to give up some of your freedom to take care of your loved ones. Unfortunately, not a lot of people can commit to this care. In such a case, we recommend considering memory care in Elgin.

Memory Care Elgin

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive form of dementia. Usually, people diagnosed with this disease are 65 years old and above. If your loved one was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s earlier than 65, it’s called early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease, but you can slow down its progression with the help of medical treatment. You may also help keep your loved ones safe by seeking memory care.

What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

There are often times when you forget things, like when you forgot where you placed your car keys or as hard as you try, you cannot remember where you hid your birth certificate. The difference between a healthy individual and a person with Alzheimer’s is that the latter’s forgetfulness worsens over time. Examples of symptoms of Alzheimer’s you should look out for are the following:

  • Forgetfulness that affects daily activities like skipping appointments
  • Having trouble figuring out how to do tasks that used to be familiar, like using the remote control for the air conditioner or turning on the microwave
  • Difficulty solving problems
  • Having trouble with writing and speech
  • Getting disoriented with places and time
  • Poor judgment
  • Decreased personal hygiene
  • Personality changes
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawal from community, family, and friends

What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s?

Although medical experts have not singled out the main cause of Alzheimer’s, research has found several factors that can put an individual at risk for the disease.

  • Age – People who develop Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years old and above
  • Family history – If there are members in your family who have Alzheimer’s, there’s a good chance you might get it too.
  • Genetics – Some genes are associated with Alzheimer’s, like the APOE or apolipoprotein E.

It’s important to mention that just because you have these risk factors does not mean you will have Alzheimer’s. These are only factors that will increase your risk and your likelihood of developing the disease.

Memory Care Elgin

What are the Stages of Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s comes in stages. As mentioned, it is a progressive disease. It will start out with mild symptoms and continue to become severe over time. It can be summed up into seven stages:

First Stage – The first stage shows no symptoms at all, but you can be diagnosed if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s.

Second Stage – The earliest symptom of Alzheimer’s is forgetfulness.

Third Stage – In this stage, you will notice mild mental and physical impairments. Your loved ones will have a hard time concentrating and they are slowly losing their memory. This will not be apparent to friends, but will be obvious to those close to Alzheimer's patients.

Fourth Stage – By this time, your loved one would have already received a diagnosis. However, Alzheimer’s at this stage is still mild. The patient is not able to perform daily tasks efficiently and manifests evident memory loss.

Fifth Stage – Patients who are in the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s exhibit moderate to severe symptoms. It is no longer safe for them to be by themselves. They need the help and assistance of their loved ones or from caregivers that are trained in memory care.

Sixth Stage – When patients reach the sixth stage, they will require help even in the most basic tasks such as putting clothes on, oral hygiene, and eating.

Seventh Stage – The most severe stage in Alzheimer’s is stage seven. When your loved ones reach this stage, they will lose their speech as well as their facial expressions.

Why Take Your Loved Ones to a Memory Care Facility?

Memory care facilities are equipped to keep your loved ones safe from injuries and from getting lost. Imagine if you were busy with work and your Alzheimer’s-stricken loved one went out in the streets and couldn’t find his way back home?  

Residents are safe in a memory care facility as it is designed to offer a safe and secure environment for patients with Alzheimer’s. The locks are on the exteriors of the doors so there is no way they can make their way out without informing the staff.

Some of these facilities have installed doorbells and keypads in exits and entryways just to help the staff monitor the movements of the residents. These devices will alarm them if ever anyone tries to leave the facility. Even the courtyards and gardens are designed to keep the residents safe. They can roam outdoors without wandering.

Memory care communities are also designed to reduce the disorientation and confusion that lead to wandering. The spaces are clean and clear, the apartments are personalized, they are well lit, and background noise is significantly reduced. The overall design of the facility is carefully thought out to keep everyone in the community safe.

Rest assured that the facility offers tranquility, familiarity, calmness, and more importantly – safety. Residents won’t feel that they are confined in an unsafe and clinical building because the design makes them feel at home.  

Memory Care Elgin

Why Should You Consider Memory Care in Elgin?

If you can’t commit to caring for your loved ones and if you aren’t able to provide them the safety that they need, you should consider taking them to a memory care facility where they can receive round-the-clock care. Their needs are catered and their safety is assured.  

At Senior Living Experts, our advisors will work closely with you and your family to give your loved ones superior quality care. Call us today to learn more about assisted living and nursing homes.

Taking care of someone with Alzheimer's disease is a 24/7 job. For the best memory care in Elgin, Senior Living Experts is here to help.

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What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home?

April 11, 2021

There will come a time when you and your siblings will gather around the dinner table to talk about your parents’ living conditions. As your parents get older, their safety and their needs become your primary concerns.

It can be unsafe if they continue to live in their house with no one to look after them considering that their children are all grown and have families of their own. The most practical decision is to seek assisted living in Vernon Hills or a nursing home.

While it’s true that this decision involves a lot of emotions, sometimes you have to see beyond the emotions and be practical about it. There is always the possibility your parents will be unwilling to give up their complete independence and they might not like the idea of leaving their home where they spent most of their lifetime making memories.

But again, there will come a point where the most logical thing to do is to ask for assistance especially when it’s something you and everyone else in the family won’t be able to give.  

Senior living usually offers two different types of approaches – assisted living and nursing homes. Many people use these two interchangeably believing that they are one and the same. These two aren’t the same and when you’re making a big decision such as this, it pays to be informed.

Knowing the differences will help you decide what type of facility to choose based on the level of care your parents need.

Assisted Living Vernon Hills

Assisted Living Versus Nursing Homes

What is an Assisted Living Facility?

The biggest difference between assisted living and a nursing home is the level of care being offered. Assisted living is merely providing assistance to seniors with their usual daily activities. Individuals who live in assisted living facilities are still able to have as much independence as possible.  

However, staff will be readily available when help is needed. Examples of daily activities that the staff is trained to help their in-house residents with include doing laundry, housekeeping, showering, dressing, and preparing meals.

Most seniors in assisted living facilities get to enjoy their own space like a private room, a condominium, or an apartment. Medical assistance will be also be available if residents need it. Assisted living facilities may have an in-house nurse or a clinic so that medical care can be provided at any given time.

The primary focus of an assisted living facility is to ensure that seniors receive the assistance they need to perform activities of daily living. Since many residents are capable of completing some tasks on their own, constant supervision is not necessary and residents can enjoy their privacy whenever they want. They can choose to socialize with other seniors only when they feel like it.

Many seniors prefer assisted living because it gives them a sense of normalcy and autonomy all while making them part of a dynamic community. It’s an experience that’s similar to being at home, so the transition won’t be that dramatic.  

If your parents require care around the clock, a nursing home would be a better option for them.

Assisted Living Vernon Hills

What is a Nursing Home?

Another term for a nursing home is a long-term care home. The level of care given is more complex compared to assisted living. Most of the residents in nursing homes have mental, physical, and medical needs that can only be catered to by a nursing home staff.  

Nursing home staff are trained to help residents with their day-to-day activities, in addition to providing efficient medical care. Examples of the care they provide include medication management, rehabilitative care, administration of medications, and cognitive impairment management like in the case of Alzheimer’s.

If your parents require full-time care, then a nursing home would be a good place for them where they will be receiving medical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is highly beneficial for seniors who need to be closely watched and monitored.

When making this big decision, always include your parents in the discussion, especially if they are still mentally capable. They have to know the facts and be informed about what to expect so they feel completely on board with this next step in their life.

Assisted living facilities allow family members to freely visit residents whenever they want. Being in an assisted living facility or a nursing home will not in any way affect your family quality time, but in a nursing home, you will be asked to sign in before entering, and their visiting hours are fixed.

Are the Costs the Same?

The amount of money needed is an important topic when deciding between assisted living and nursing homes. The cost varies depending on the location and the features and amenities of the facility. It’s wise to make calls and compare prices to help you find a facility that matches your budget.

It's always important to ask as many questions as possible so you know exactly what to expect. Don’t worry, because many facilities offer insurances and veteran’s benefits. Meanwhile, nursing homes have a fixed cost since it is government-regulated. If you don’t have the money, there will always be an available bed at a nursing home as long as the senior is eligible.  

Assisted Living Vernon Hills

Assisted Living in Vernon Hills or a Nursing Home: Have You Decided?

The first step to knowing where to take your parents is to have an honest discussion with them. Ask them about their wants, tell them about their needs and once you’ve figured that out, you will then know what’s the best option for your parents based on their current situation.

At Senior Living Experts, our advisors will work closely with you and your family to help you find 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 assisted living and nursing homes. We’re ready to answer any questions you might have.

Not many people realize there is a difference between a nursing home and assisted living in Vernon Hills. Here's what you should know before finding the perfect home for your loved one.

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How Often to Visit Parent in Nursing Home

Senior Living Experts Newsletter

Thank you to our friend Ryan for another great guest post:How Often Should We Visit Our Loved OnesWho Are In Care?Most individuals realize the difficulty ofthe decision to choose to send a loved one to an assisted living or care home facility; however, fewpeople understand the ongoing concern after that decision has been made. Evenjust deciding when to visit and for how long is a heavily weighed choice formost as visiting can provoke a variety of emotions for both parties involved.For individuals visiting, the visit can prompt feelings of sadness orfrustration, and the same is true for the loved one who is living in thefacility. Either way, following a few guidelines for visiting is important toexperience the most beneficial visit and to keep everyone’s feelings andemotions intact.Visiting FrequencyOne of the biggest questions individuals have when it comes to visiting regardshow often can and should we visit. While individuals working at the nursinghome may suggest that it is best to let them handle the loved one’s adjustmentperiod, the truth is, you and your family are your loved one’s link to his orher identity. You are the one constant in his or her life. That being said,visiting frequently is a good way to help your loved one adjust. Nevertheless,the frequency should be determined by your personal schedule as well as yourloved one’s needs. One to two times a month may be doable and appropriate forsome families and situations while others may require much less or much more.The true key, however, is consistency. Try to set aside a certain time eachmonth or week to regularly visit the loved one and keep it consistent. Thisfactor will help ground your loved one and help you plan your time more easily.Other GuidelinesIn addition to frequent visits, keeping a few other things in mind for visitingwill help both you and your loved one throughout the process.• The visit should be simple. While it may seem fun to bring several things todo with your loved one or to have several people come during the visit, theseelements can make the time overwhelming. Remember to keep it simple when youvisit and to focus on the together time as moments of joy.• A quiet, comfortable space is the most enjoyable for visiting. The point ofthe visit is to spend time with your loved one, so look for a place to visitthat is free of distraction. Consider a porch, chapel, or even just the lovedone’s room.• Be flexible. Depending on when you visit each time, your loved one may beparticipating in different tasks. Be flexible and avoid being overbearing. Ifyou are on a time schedule, consider calling ahead to see when would be thebest time to visit.• Make the visit about your loved one. Consider your loved one’s interest priorto coming and think about what he or she may enjoy doing, but don’t makeprejudgments. Once you have arrived ask your loved one how he or she wants tospend the time together and be flexible.Whether you are able to visit once a week, a couple of times a month, or a fewtimes a year, make the times you do get to enjoy count. Remember to focus onthe individual and to include him or her in the decision making. Most of alljust spend time together.Author BIO:Ryan is a Freelance writer and health enthusiast. He is in his final year of nursing and passionate about helping others and sharing his thoughts on the online world.

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Benefits of Assisted Living Facilities for Seniors

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The idea of assisted living is something thatmight be a little bit frightening for elderly adults and the children that aretaking care of them. However, for many seniors, an assisted living facility isactually one of the most beneficial and nurturing environments out there.That’s because assisted living facilities are designedwith senior’s health and happiness in mind. Giving up thehome a senior has likely lived in is definitely scary, and the idea of asking aparent to move can be as well, but in the long run, there are many reasons whyassisted living is actually healthier for elderly adults.Optimal HealthCare Even if your parent has the best doctors inthe world outside of an assisted living facility, the health care that’sprovided for seniors in quality facilities is better for one reason – it’salways there when your parent needs it.It might be tough to think about, but asparent’s age, health problems tend to creep up. In emergency situations, youwant your parent to be able to receivethe care that they need right away.You also want your parent to be aroundtrained staff members who can spot health problems, allowing your parent to getthe care they need even before something goes wrong.NutritionMany seniors are no longer able to cook forthemselves for physical or safety reasons, which can lead to a lack of healthy,freshly prepared food in their life. Unfortunately, even if you prepare mealsfor your parent on a regular basis, it’s just not possible for most familymembers to prepare three meals per day and healthy snacks for seniors.However, that’s something that assisted livingfacilities can do. Quality facilities alsohave trained professionals on staff that understand the type of nutrition thatseniors need in order to stay healthy and live as active of a lifestylethat they can.In assisted living facilities, seniors alsoget to eat meals with other people their own age. Social interaction duringmeals is something many seniors miss, and that can be harmful. After all,social interaction actually helps aid in the food digestion, and on anemotional level, eating with other people has been something humans have donepretty much since the beginning of time!Friends andCompanionsWhile family members that care for elderlyparents in their homes certainly spend quality time with them, there’s reallyno replacement for friendship and companionship with adults their own age.Adults of the same age share common experiences and values, and simply beingaround people who have lived through the same things and have similarviewpoints makes a huge difference in an elderly adults life.When seniors move into assisted livingfacilities that’s one of the biggest features. Seniors can eat meals, do activities and simply haveconversations with people their own age, many of which will likely become dearfriends and companions in a very short time.The idea of assisted living can befrightening for seniors and their kids, but taking time to explore thepossibilities can show you how truly beneficial it can be. Seniors can livehappier, healthier lives in assisted facilities.If you think assisted living is right foryour parent or parents don’t be afraid to talkabout the idea.Thank you Virginia for your wonderful guest post!Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer in Southern California. She has experienced having to discuss assisted living with others before, and knows what a great option it is. As a health writer, she contributes to the Presidio Home Care blog.

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Can you negotiate the cost of assisted living?

The symptoms of PTSD and dementia may be linked, according to recent studies.

Our very own expert, Kerry Quirin has an opinion on this....

"When looking for senior living, sometimes clients will ask if the rate can be reduced. Communities will run specials from time to time, so it just depends. But, clients will also ask if the level of care charge can be taken down or negotiated. At  this point, I would advise a client to see a community that is willing to negotiate that fee as a red flag. The level of care fee directly affects staffing ratios. You do not want to take that fee down because it will affect the staffing. Room rent is one thing, but staff is everything. Level of care charges should never be negotiated and it is a red flag if they are."

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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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