Peach Tree Times
Some of our articles have been written by guest writers
Peach Tree Times
Starting the search for a retirement community can be a daunting task. There are so many facilities, and each one offers different things at a different price. It's hard to know where to start.
Know what you need
What kinds of services and support do you need? Making a list of these items can help determine your budget and narrow down your choices.
How much you can spend per month puts a limit on where you might be able to live. Many of your current expenses may be included in your rent at a retirement facility. Don't overlook any resources or benefits (like those for veterans) that might help you pay for your senior living community.
Do you want to be located near anything specific, like parks or shopping centers? Near friends and family? Would you prefer to be close to the city center or out in the country?
What's non-negotiable, and what "would be nice"? You should make a list of all the "must-haves", such as being pet friendly and having transportation provided. You should also make a wishlist of all the things you would like to have, but aren't necessarily deal-breakers. This may be things like being all on one level or having a hair salon on site.
A community's website will tell you a lot about it. You should also look at 3rd party sites - these will give you reviews, but their information may not be up to date. Additionally, look at social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to get an alternate view of the community.
Does someone you know live in a senior community? Other people you know may have already done some research. Ask them what places they recommend. What places should you avoid?
Call or email first.
You can shorten a long list by asking questions before taking the time to visit somewhere in person.
Visit in person.
An in-person visit is vital to making an informed decision. Bring a friend with you, ask questions, and take notes. Does it feel like somewhere you could call home?
Everyone forgets things sometimes, but we get more upset by memory lapses as we get older. Although there are no guaranteed ways to prevent memory loss, Alzheimer's, or dementia, some activities can help to sharpen your memory.
Maintain a healthy diet and exercise program.
Eating healthy and staying active can reduce your risk of developing dementia. A study from 2011 actually showed that aerobic exercise can increase brain volume.
Give yourself cues and reminders.
Don't be afraid to set up prompts to remind you of the things you need to do. Whether it's a post-it note on the bathroom mirror or an alarm on your phone, it's easy to set up reminders. Additionally, do your best to leave important objects in visible places related to your tasks. For example, leave your keys on top of the package you keep meaning to mail out.
Say it out loud.
Similar to writing things down, saying something out loud helps you remember it. If you want to avoid forgetting what you're doing just as you walk into a room, try telling yourself out loud where you're going and why.
Get your health checked.
Many different medications and medical conditions can contribute to memory loss and forgetfulness. Most of us immediately think of Alzheimer's or dementia, but memory loss can be caused by something as simple as a vitamin deficiency or cold medication. Your physical and mental health are closely linked, so it's important to talk to your doctor about what's happening.
In order to work out your brain, you need to do more than what you're already good at. In 2013, a research study found that older adults who spent time learning new skills enhanced their memory more than those who did not.
Get enough sleep.
Inadequate sleep affects the brain's ability to consolidate facts and memories. Improve your sleep by sticking to a consistent schedule, avoiding caffeine after noon, dimming the lights, and avoiding electronics before bed.
Remove distractions and stress.
Mental and emotional strain can be a huge barrier to your memory. If there's too much going on in your life for your brain to handle, it can affect your ability to process and store information. Try prioritizing instead of multitasking, taking more breaks, and asking for help when you need it.
Trying to decide which senior community is right for you or your loved one can be a daunting task. It's important to know all of the details about each facility so you can make the right decision.
Here are a few questions to ask the staff when touring a senior living community.
What living options are there?
Most senior communities offer a range of apartment sizes, locations, and layouts. You should ask about how much privacy there is, what kinds of items you can or cannot bring, and what limitations there are on visitors.
Consider where in the community you'll be happiest. Do you want to be in the center of the action or in a quieter part of the building? Can the staff provide a floor plan of your potential apartment? If so, this can help you determine which of your possessions will fit in the apartment.
You should also ask what utilities are included in the rent. Is cable included? What about Wi-Fi? You might want to know if you will be sharing Wi-Fi with the whole community and visitors or if there are separate networks.
What activities are offered?
Many seniors chose to move to a retirement community because they're starting to feel isolated in their homes. What kinds of activities are available? Are there any eligibility requirements for these activities? When are activities offered?
How do you keep residents safe?
It's important to know what a community does to ensure the safety of you or your loved one.
Ask questions such as:
Are there emergency pull cords in rooms?
What kinds of things are there to make the bathroom safer (grab bars, non-slip surfaces, rails, walk-in tubs, etc.)?
What happens if there is a medical emergency? Is staff available 24/7?
Are fire drills performed regularly?
How do you know if residents are accounted for?
Can residents request safety checks?
What happens if a resident has a complaint?
No community is perfect, so it's important to have ways to encourage and address feedback from residents, families, and staff. Who does a resident talk to if they have a concern?
Is there transportation?
Many communities offer some form of transportation. Is transportation included in rent or is it a separate charge? When is transportation offered? Does it include the places you personally want to visit? If you still drive yourself, ask about the parking situation. Do you have to pay for a parking spot? Where is parking located?
What are the meal options?
When are meals served? Is it cook-to-order or cafeteria-style? What kinds of food get served? Ask if you can get a copy of the menu. What happens if a resident doesn't like what is on the menu for that meal? How do they handle allergies? Do residents have assigned seats or do they choose where to sit?
Are pets allowed?
Many senior living communities are pet-friendly, but not all. If you have a pet, it's important to know whether or not they will be able to be with you when you move.
How much does it cost?
Many people feel awkward or rude when talking about money, but it's an important factor in the decision. Once you've determined a particular community is high on your list of choices, you should ask for a cost breakdown.
Some things to consider:
What's the base price per month/year?
Will the cost change over time?
What amenities are included in the base price? What add-ons do you have to pay for and how much do they cost?
How does the community communicate with residents and their families?
Ask what the community does to keep you and your family in the loop. What social media platforms do they use? Do they send out announcements via email? Is there a weekly or monthly newsletter or email list? How do residents give their input on potential changes?
How is the transition to the community made easier? Is there a welcoming committee or resident orientation?
How does the staff know who to call when something happens? Can you designate a family member as a contact person?
Choosing a senior living community can be a difficult decision. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. By asking a bunch of questions, you are better equipped to choose the right retirement community for you or your loved one.
Physical activity is an important part of healthy aging. According to Harvard Medical School, adults & seniors who exercise regularly are able to be more independent and rely on others less. Exercise improves balance and increases energy levels, as well as boosts your immune system.
Where to Start
Water aerobics - Water provides natural resistance to your workout without stressing your joints. This kind of exercise is especially good for those with arthritis and other kinds of joint pain.
Chair yoga - Chair yoga provides a low-impact form of exercise that combines mobility, balance, muscle strength, and flexibility.
Walking - Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise. Walking helps to strengthen muscles and bones, improve balance, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
If it's been a while since you've been active, make sure to start slowly. The amount of exercise you need varies based on your health and age. Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Moving can be challenging, exciting, and exhausting at any age, and, when you're an older adult there are some additional things you have to consider. Whether you're moving into a retirement community, assisted living facility, or simply downsizing, you'll want to make it as easy of a process as possible.
When is it time to downsize?
Knowing when it's time to downsize can be difficult, but there are a few tips and guidelines.
Packing and moving can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Ease the pain by starting early and giving yourself plenty of time to go through your belongings and make choices. By giving yourself extra time, you make it easier to determine which items you want to keep and what you want to do with the rest, whether it's donating, selling, or discarding.
Reduce your belongings
Moving from a large home to a smaller one calls for reducing your possessions to some degree. Reducing your belongings doesn't mean getting rid of things you love - it just means keeping the things you find useful or meaningful. Start by donating or selling clothes, furniture, and other possessions that you no longer need.
If you're having trouble getting rid of something, look for these signs:
Moving can be overwhelming, especially when you have lived in one place for many years. But, a move can be a great opportunity for positive changes, such as meeting new people and fostering new hobbies. Keep a positive attitude and your move will usually go smoother.
Follow a sorting system when going through your belongings. You could use different bins for donate, sell, and give away, as well as a list of who is getting which items.
Start with large items and work your way towards smaller ones. Going through larger furniture pieces first will help build momentum for smaller items such as clothes and books. It will also help you to be realistic about what you keep, as you'll know how much storage space you'll have in your new space.
Focus on one space at a time. Not only will this help when it comes to unpacking your boxes, but it will also help keep you from being overwhelmed by trying to pack your entire house at once.
Start in the parts of your home that don't see as much use, such as a guest bedroom. This will be less disruptive to your daily life.
Day 1 Box
Have a specific box or suitcase that has all of the items you'll need for your first few days. It should have a few changes of clothes, some dishes, towels, sheets, and any toiletries you'll need within the first few days. This will keep the things you need where you can find them, saving you from digging through boxes to find what you need.
Age is but a number. You're only as old as you feel. Think young, stay young.
You've certainly heard one or more of these clichés before. But, did you know there may actually be some truth to these sayings?
A study published in 2015 found that those who think of themselves as being younger than their age actually lived longer. The group of people in the study who felt younger than their age had a lower mortality rate than the group that felt the same age or older.
So, maybe staying young at heart will actually make your life longer.
How to Stay Young at Heart
Forget about the number. Don't let yourself feel like you're too old for the activities you want to do. You shouldn't let your calendar age dictate how you live your life.
Keep learning. It's important to keep your mind engaged, especially into retirement. Just because you're not going to work every day doesn't mean you should stop learning. Whether it's art, book clubs, online classes, yoga, or any other hobby, learning helps to keep your mind sharp.
Get enough sleep. Most people don't get enough sleep. Experts recommend that people over the age of 65 get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. No matter your age, your body needs the time while you sleep to rest and recuperate. Sleep also helps keep your body healthy and free of diseases.
Stay active. In the same way that you should exercise your mind, you should also exercise your body. Moving your body for 20-30 minutes a day stimulates your metabolism and elevates your mood. Additionally, exercise reduces the risk of falls. Try adding a daily walk, yoga, or water aerobics into your schedule. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an exercise routine.
Stay social. Maintaining social ties helps avoid social isolation and loneliness. Look for communities to become a part of. This can include things like a book club, exercise class, or your retirement community.
Embrace the new. Instead of trying to wave away or ignore new technology, embrace it! It's fun to be a part of what's happening. Instead of feeling left behind when people discuss pop culture or new technology, you can join in on the conversation. You don't have to keep up with every new thing, but you should be open to new experiences.
Staying young at heart and aging gracefully is the goal for many seniors. Most importantly, don't take yourself too seriously. Do what you love and shrug off your mistakes. What matters is how you feel, not how you look.
Moving into a senior community can feel a bit like the first day at a new school. You're new and might not know anyone there yet, while others in the community have pre-established friendships. It's normal to be nervous.
Retirement communities often have a variety of scheduled activities and events. Find a few that interest you and prioritize going to them. Whether it's painting, exercise, bird watching, or a coffee social, you're sure to find someone who shares your interests.
In many communities, mealtimes are the time of day where you see the majority of the residents. Use mealtimes as a time to get to know your fellow residents. Invite people you meet during the day to sit down and share a meal with you.
Get to Know the Staff
Having staff members that you know and trust has multiple benefits. You'll likely be seeing them on a regular basis, and if you have any concerns then you know who you can ask.
Additionally, getting to know the staff can give you more opportunities for friendships with other residents. If a staff member finds out you have a certain hobby, they might introduce you to another resident whom you may not have known that has similar interests.
Keep a Good Attitude
Attitude is everything. If you go into a new situation with a positive outlook you'll be shocked how easy it can be to meet people.
Smile at the people you pass in the hall, or chat by the coffee machine. Take a risk and initiate conversations instead of waiting for others to make the first step. Ask questions, and don't be afraid to talk about yourself. Current residents are as curious about you as you are about them.
With Summer comes bright sunny days, but bright sunny days can bring dangerously high temperatures. This summer, find ways to stay cool while staying entertained.
Clean up the house. Did you miss spring cleaning, or could you just use a bit of a tidy-up? Hang out in the A/C and bring your house to a cleaner state.
Do arts & crafts. There are many benefits to doing arts and crafts. Whether it's painting, cross-stitch, collages, or sculpting, there's bound to be something you enjoy.
Play Games. Board games, card games, and puzzles are great ways to keep your mind engaged. A 2003 study actually showed a link between mentally challenging leisure activities and a lower risk of dementia.
Read a book. Books are something that can be enjoyed indoors or outside. If reading the small print is difficult, you can always opt for large print versions or even audiobooks.
Eat something cold. Did you know that July 21st is National Ice Cream Day? Nothing completes a hot summer day quite like ice cream.
Go for a walk. Take advantage of cooler morning and evening temperatures to get outside and get active. Just make sure to bring enough water.
Go for a swim. Swimming and water aerobics are a great way to stay cool while staying active. Additionally, water-based activities are usually low-impact, which is great for those with stiff joints or arthritis.
Peach Tree Retirement Center offers a variety of activities year-round. Whether it's crafts, movies, socials, or exercise, we've always got something to keep you busy.
Independent retirement offers a housing arrangement specifically for older adults. Many independent living communities offer a variety of activities, services, and amenities, but generally do not provide medical care like an assisted living facility would.
Different independent living communities offer different living arrangements - from studio apartments to single-family homes. Some facilities are multiple buildings with multiple floors. You almost always provide your own furniture and decorations.
At Peach Tree Retirement Center we offer three apartment layouts: studio, one-bedroom, and one-bedroom deluxe. We're also all on one level, so you don't need to worry about stairs.
Activities & Amenities
Because there is such a wide range of independent living communities, there is also a large range in the level of services and amenities they provide. For example, in some retirement communities, meals are an additional charge, while other places include meals in your rent. Some independent communities offer free transportation and others don't.
Peach Tree offers a range of services, such as housekeeping, maintenance, 3 meals a day, and scheduled transportation. We also host activities like crafts, movie nights, and socials.
Why Choose Independent Living?
Independent living allows you to maintain your independence while enjoying your retirement. Living in a retirement community simplifies some of the hassles of daily life, such as cooking, cleaning, and maintaining a house and property.
Independent retirement also helps you strengthen your social connections by providing you with opportunities to make friends with your fellow residents through formal or informal get-togethers.
We all know that getting too much sun can be harmful to your health. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a major risk factor for most skin cancers.
But if you’re an older adult, sunlight – in the right amount – may provide health benefits too, a recent study says.
Sunlight causes your body to produce vitamin D. Data is emerging that suggests sunlight — with its ability to produce vitamin D — may reduce the risk of hip fractures, high blood pressure, and stroke or heart attack for older adults, the study says.
The researchers, who reviewed information gathered from a variety of sources, call for more data to weigh the potential benefits of moderate UV radiation against potential harm specifically for older adults.
That’s because the familiar recommendations to avoid the sun are based on data from the entire population – children through older adults. The data may not take into account important distinctions for older adults, the researchers say.
For example, older adults get far less sunlight than others because they tend to stay indoors. In addition, because of changes associated with aging, their skin is less efficient at producing vitamin D from sun exposure.
If you are an older adult, you need vitamin D. Vitamin D bolsters your skeletal health and may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, hip fractures, and vascular events such as stroke or heart attack, the study says. So, despite the cancer risk, older adults still may benefit from some sunlight, the researchers say.
Sunlight has other hidden benefits. With its power to produce vitamin D, it protects against depression, insomnia and an overactive immune system, geriatrician Ronan Factora, MD, says.
“There are some links between sunlight exposure and improved muscle function, bone and cardiovascular health, improved mood — even improved cognitive function,” Dr. Factora says.