The High Cost of Staying in Your Home!

By Jane E. Meyers-Bowen,
Garden Court Retirement.

We all love our homes! They are filled with memories of family and friend celebrations and holidays. Or our gardens, we fill them with flowers or vegetables, bring us pride and peace.

Yet, as seniors age, so do their homes.  An aging home requires major investments that can be very costly.  Roofs today cost $15,000-$25,000. Wiring and plumbing can equally deplete cash that may be better used for personal care than care for your home.

Living in your home requires minor upkeep as well. But as seniors-standing on ladders to change light bulbs, carrying laundry up and down stairs, and shoveling snow, you are putting yourself at risk for a fall. Not having grab bars in bathrooms and railings on stairs or having poorly lighted rooms, scatter rugs, extension or phone cords are often found in seniors’ homes which all contribute to setting up situations that are unsafe. The other risky situation is hiring casual workers, who may not be well vetted, are coming into your home.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls.” Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, or head traumas.  These injuries can make it hard to get around or live independently and increase the risk of early death.” Yet falls represent the most preventable public health risk.

  1. Survey your environment.
  2. A large percentage of falls are caused by medication errors. And have your doctor review your medicines as many can have side effects of dizziness or drowsiness.
  3. Get your eyes checked.
  4. Is  your pet contributing factor to falling?

At Garden Court Retirement, we have heard seniors and their families over the years describe a slow downward spiral while living in their homes. It may be related to different things for different older adults from increasing pain from arthritis, diminishing eyesight or hearing, depression from the loss of a spouse, or giving up driving.  Over time, physical activity goes down and they start to loss muscle mass and experience strength and balance problems. They may stop socializing- because they can’t hear or get a ride to church or to the senior center. Loss of appetite contributes to not eating healthily or eating alone and they start living on high salt TV dinners or donuts.   And sadly, many live in front of the TV waiting for their children to call-lonely & becoming frail.

The downward spiral can be reversed.  At Garden Court Retirement has recognized that for many seniors their health indexes improve.   There are many reasons retirement communities have emerged as a lifestyle. Living with others in a community setting, encourages all the good things your doctor prescribes:  exercise, healthy eating, socializing, using your mind, laughing, & reducing your stress. We are social beings-exercise is more fun, meals are more enjoyable and watching the Seahawks is better with others.

The irony is many seniors fear the loss of their independence moving into a retirement community but in reality seniors actually gain independence… independence from yard work, house work, preparing food etc. With all their new freedom they have to time to spend it with their families, focus on their health, enjoy sharing fun with new and old friends and sleeping better knowing they are in a safer place.

Come see for yourself. Call today for a lunch and tour. 425 438-9080

When Seniors Go Rogue!

Forget the cooking, cleaning and home repairs! Start living the life that matters.  Most of us are so in love with our stuff that it runs our lives.  Also, so worried that “living life fully” is over, we reach back to memories of the past to comfort us in the hours we spend alone.

Way too many hours alone?  Families/Friends may come once or twice a week to visit or take us out to lunch or to church but that ends up to a total of 10 hours (or less) leaving only 74 awake hours alone each week!  Is that really enough human contact to feel alive? Many people don’t even know that they are feeling lonely but experience an emptiness that is always there.

Is it time to go Rogue? Seniors today have so many more choices than sitting by the phone waiting for their children to call. Still learning, growing, going and doing is the spirit (and brain) that ages well.  Making new decisions even one new decision can make a difference in the quality of your life.

At Garden Court Retirement, in the Silver Lake area, they offer residents many of the comforts of home yet provide the juice for joyful living.  Imagine a dance floor w live music? Or ever thought about a trip to the Pacific Science Center or to the Everett Performing Arts Center or to the Lavender Fields in Woodville?  (Of course we go to the casino, too!)

Rogue Residents eat when they want, sleep in as late as they want, come and go as they want and even enjoy family and friends staying over the week with them! So rid yourself of those things that are necessary to do’s but offer little joy and trade up for those things that do.

Going Rogue is not a reckless action though.  It’s the lifestyle that doctors recommend: Stimulation, movement, healthy food, socializing, and reduction of stress.  Imagine that!

Come see for yourself! Tours daily! Call 425 465-4959.

Jane Meyers-Bowen
Garden Court Retirement

Let the Fun Begin…How to Analyze if a Retirement Community is Alive and Well!

Jane Meyers-Bowen MN

Today’s Retirement Communities are more like cruise ships, than nursing homes! It’s a lifestyle of fun, food, adventure, and entertainment day after day. The funny thing is that it also reflects what doctors’ advice- socializing, good food, rest, exercise, and reducing your stress. Hmmmm! Who would have guessed! Many residents’ health indexes improve shortly after moving in.

Retirement Communities offer a new lifestyle, breaking free from the clinical institutional structure of a nursing home, and moving toward life on a cruise ship!  Activity Programs are a key part of the recipe of “ living it up.” So how do you evaluate an Activity Program for quality? Here’s what you look for:

  • Number of people-The size of the community can impact the quality of the Activity Program. You need enough people to have a robust schedule of events.
  • Number of events- How many events are available every day? Are there Blank Days? For example, many communities don’t have anything happening on the week-ends.
  • Are there activities inside the community as well as outside the community? Are there day trips with destinations like- public gardens, museums, theatres, baseball stadiums, casinos?
  • Are there options for people with less physicality or very physically fit? Are there options for people with no cognitive loss or some with cognitive changes in their brains?
  • Is there diversity in the type of activities? Are there activities for Heart (Socials and Support groups), Mind (Adult Learning Opportunities), Body (Exercise Programs), Spirit (Religious and Spiritual gatherings)?
  • Is there recognition of cultural and ethnic differences?
  • Are there activities that your family or friend can share in?
  • Do the Residents inform the plan? Or is this the same program that was developed five years?
  • Is there evaluation? Do Residents get a chance to evaluate the quality of the Activity Program?

As the industry advances, so have the expectations.  In addition to entertainment events and parties, self development became an added component-exercise programs, classes, etc.. A re-naming has happened from Activity programs to Life Enrichment programs.  This is a thrust of moving participants from Observation (on the sidelines) to Involvement (on the court).  Today, an even higher standard of participation is sought after by seniors. Leaders in the industry talk about Engagement.  Engagement is being involved and sharing of your passion. Aliveness is a measure of joy, contentment, and participation in day to day life with others. It’s all about living life your way. Come see our Gardens at Garden Court Retirement in South Everett-planted and loved by passionate residents!

Mental Toughness for Older Adults!

Jane Meyers-Bowen MN

Although many fear that aging with bring with it a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease  Based on data for Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older, Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia had been diagnosed in only 8 percent of white older adults, 11 percent of African-Americans and 12 percent of Hispanics.

For those without dementia, brain health is something that is moving to the forefront in the national conversation. With all the research about Traumatic Brain Injury in sports, many of our ideas are changing.  When I was in nursing school decades ago, if someone had a stroke there was little hope for life without disability. Today stroke treatment within the golden hour  can reverse or prevent brain damage with the use of  the powerful clot-busting drug known as tPA (short for tissue plasminogen activator), if given within the first few hours after a stroke.  The whole field of rehabilitative medicine has proven that 90 year old bodies can build strength, use and agility. Who knew? Lifestyle can have a profound impact and aging your brain.

We witness older adults living alone in their homes will present bodies that have decompensated gradually over time. If it hurts to move, it’s the human condition to not move. Going to the store, preparing healthy food, staying in touch with friends become taxing.  Without exercise, good food, and being connected with others we pay a price. Those dynamics begin to grind away on one’s body, mind, and social confidence.

Moving from the home you raised your children in, planted your prize winning roses in, and celebrated life’s joyful occasions, can feel like you are letting go of all that matters. Yet, putting yourself in a healthier environment can save the quality of your life. Retirement communities offer the lifestyle that the doctor orders- healthy food, exercise, socialization, and reduced stress.

Mental Toughness requires one to focus outward on the challenges that must be handled. The research based thought calls it RESILENCY.   If it is making lemonade out of lemons, keeping a positive sense of self, and staying focused on the problem to solve rather than the emotion surrounding the problem. In my family we call it “going down the rabbit hole” which takes you deep into nowhere. New self talk like- “change is good” and “this will be a great journey” keeps your stress down which is correlated with brain health.  All kinds of good things are ahead. A resident who moved into Garden Court said, “when I was living at home I was focused on everything I couldn’t do anymore. Now, I focus on all the things I can do.”

Know that there are always trade-offs.  There can be a lot of living left in life. Live it Well.

Garden Court Retirement is locally owned and managed and located in south Everett.  It  has been awarded Best in Senior Living in the greater Seattle area and in the top 1% of retirement communities in the country. Tours are available 7 days per week. Call 425 438-9080.

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Garden Court Retirement Community
520 112th St SW
Everett, WA, 98204
Phone: 425-357-7534

Email: GardenCourt@artegan.com

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