There are many changes in the realm of senior care. One of the changes that has been highlighted is how intergenerational living can have a positive effect for residents, staff, families, communities for everyone involved!As reported in American Planning Associations June 7, 2023, blog [i]The Importance of Intergenerational Communities, they state that multigenerational and age-friendly communities create a vehicle to bring generations together: Reduce age segregation and ageism Decrease social isolation, depression, and loneliness Improve community infrastructure and facilities.At The Middletown Home, we are living the excitement and visioning for a future of an intergenerational community. A campus where students, residents, families and our staff are able to live in community with one another. Currently, The Middletown Home offers students from local colleges and universities a wonderful opportunity to reside on our campus in their own apartment right next door to our residents. Students receive a furnished independent living apartment equipped with a full bath and meal plan, and students are encouraged to share meals with residents in our dining room. A very modest monthly fee is charged to the student in exchange for the student providing a minimum of twenty (20) hours/month of structured volunteer programming with our residents. Students are encouraged to participate in programming such as: 1:1 visits; escorting residents to social events on and off campus; sharing in music, dance, drama, and/or art; and most importantly offering companionship. A key component of culture and community growth is the introduction of varied generations living together to the benefit of all. In March 2022, Seniors Housing Business published an article called [ii]Intergenerational Communities: The Latest Trend for Happier, Healthier Living, reporting that Generations United stated that an astounding 92 percent of Americans believe intergenerational activities can help reduce loneliness across all ages. Loneliness and isolation are big concerns within senior living communities. When one is isolated for long periods of time, depression and mental health problems start to form. The body will eventually follow the mind when the mind starts to deteriorate, so does ones physical health. By providing an environment to older adults to engage and commune with the younger generation it gives opportunity to build lasting relationships. Not only do intergenerational communities build harmony between the age gaps, they energize older adults and give them a sense of purpose, especially when given the opportunity to share their life experiences and skills with the youth. This paper reports there is a growing interest among senior housing providers to create intergenerational programming as a vehicle for connecting residents to the broader community, enhancing well-being for both youth and older adults, reducing ageism, and preparing an aging workforce. On the campus of The Middletown Home, we believe that this is the future in senior residential living, and the future is now. As we grow our campus at The Middletown Home, you will see further intergenerational growth such as apartments for our staff, child-care for folks who reside and/or serve on campus, as well as a growing venue of social programming, inclusive of our free summer concert series, Annual Pumpkin Fest Weekend Celebration, and so much more for folks of all ages! The intergenerational shift will open up the lives of both the seniors and the participants (children or young adults) and can positively impact everyones outlook. As we vision for the future, The Middletown Home is intentional in more fully developing a campus of Wellness, Rehabilitation, and Lifelong Learning, especially through the relationship between The Middletown Home and local college/university students. I truly believe that We are better when were together, both residents, students, families and staff living together in one community with one another. _____________________________ Editors Note: Lou Vogel submitted this article. He is the CEO at The Middletown Home a Continuing Care Retirement Community. [i] https://planning.org/blog/9270319/the-importance-of-intergenerational-communities/ [ii] https://seniorshousingbusiness.com/intergenerational-communities-the-latest-trend-for-happier-healthier-living/
You have probably seen advertisements for senior care referral services promising to find the best retirement community care for you or a loved one at no cost to you. Some of these services even utilize paid celebrity spokespersons to pitch their senior living placement services. However, these services do have a high cost in the form of missed opportunities. It is important for you to understand how these retirement community referral services such as A Place for Mom, Caring.com and SeniorAdvisor work.Some retirement communities pay to playMany retirement community referral services tout their services as free to the consumer, implying the assistance they provide is done as part of a not-for-profit model. This couldnt be further from the case. These retirement community referral services require senior living providers to pay high fees for inclusion on the services list of preferred communities. Many consumers assume, incorrectly, that a services preferred communities are evaluated or rated based on the quality of care provided. Unfortunately, the only reason a senior living facility earns this preferred status is simply that the retirement community has opted to pay a fee. A high fee. If a free service recommends a particular retirement community to you, be sure to do your own research to confirm it truly is the right fit for you or your loved one.Retirement community advisors paid by commissionMany retirement community referral services employ advisors who assist consumers by calling a toll-free phone number seeking help and advice in finding senior care. According to one referral services website, The advisor will conduct an assessment to gather information on you or your loved ones lifestyle, care needs and budget. The website omits an important piece of information: Advisors are often paid commissions when a caller moves into a recommended retirement community. This encourages advisors to recommend more expensive locations as the cost paid by participating retirement communities is typically one months rent, which may be equivalent to several thousand dollars.It is important to know the qualifications of the person advising you in such an important life decision. Ask the advisor about his/her professional qualifications to truly understand you or your loved ones needs and why he/she recommends a particular retirement community. If the advisor cannot list specific qualifications, you are most likely interacting with a subcontractor whose top concern may not be in your best interest. In fact, these individuals may do more harm than good since the senior living facility suggested might not always be based on your or your loved ones needs, rather driven by the prospective commission fee to be earned. Find out for yourself and ask the advisor how he/she is paid and ask for the individuals qualifications to make recommendations.Quality care in each featured retirement community is not guaranteedWhile the retirement community referral service advisor may seem to care deeply about your personal situation, it is critical to know that this person is doing his/her job. Once the advisor makes retirement community recommendations, arranges tours and assists you in making your final decision, this is where the relationship ends. Most times a free service will not monitor the care received by you or your loved one at the senior living facility. You can take things a step further by asking your advisor if the retirement community referral service carries liability insurance. If he/she asks you to sign a document stating that the retirement community referral service is not liable for the quality of care received at the recommended location, DO NOT use the service.Honesty is more than not lyingWhile conducting research for this article, we called a retirement community referral service for a first-hand experience. When inquiring specifically about a Country Meadows Retirement Communities location, the advisor said, You dont want to go there. They are too expensive. In truth, the three retirement communities the advisor recommended cost more or were the same monthly cost as Country Meadows.
When it comes to your loved ones getting older and the possibility of needing outside care, there are a ton of options to choose from. How do you even begin? There is a lot of value from residing in a senior living community; Communities offer services and support with personal care throughout the day and are suited for your changing needs. Most importantly, communities like Harmony Senior Services provide the peace of mind that your loved one will be safe, comfortable, and cared for. Maintenance-Free Lifestyle A home is full of memories and represents freedom and safety, however, maintenance that is involved in keeping everything in order can add more stress and is likely to be neglected. When visiting aging parents and loved ones, its important to take note of safety risks around their home, as well as structural damage that may increase the risk of falls or injury. For seniors, the physical demands of maintaining a home and yard maintenance can put them at unnecessary risk for injuries and limit their ability to focus on their health. In a personal care community, the majority of the housekeeping is done for you! No need to worry about the laundry, replacing air filters and fire alarm batteries, or fixing an appliance; Our maintenance team at Harmony is always here to help. Better Nutrition What you eat everyday becomes more important as you age. Vitamins and food groups that support joint, heart, and cognitive health need to be incorporated into daily mealtimes. Maintaining a healthy diet can seem like a chore for some seniors; Feeling like cooking for one is too much work, or not worth the effort. When making the decision to live in a personal care community, your loved one will benefit from chef-inspired, nutritious meals and snacks every day. There is also no stress of driving to the grocery store and creating a shopping list of ingredients to buy. It is necessary to receive essential nutrients to support your health and well-being and our chefs create each meal. If you or a senior in your family is starting to consider moving to an assisted living community, we are here to answer your questions and provide the support you need at Harmony. Our personalized knowledge of our residents in Independent living, Personal Care, and Memory Care enables us to respond to your changing abilities and needs. We provide reliable and flexible care options that are cost effective for the long-run. Most importantly, we offer the ability to relax and spend time on your favorite hobbies and meaningful visits from family and friends while we take care of everything you need. Reach out to us today to learn the real value of Harmony!