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Financial Wellness Tips for Seniors

Getting older is a large transition physically, emotionally, and financially. As your needs change, so do your financial circumstances as you retire and pursue other opportunities. With over 15 million older adults aged 65+ being economically insecure, educating yourself on effective financial wellness practices is vital for living your golden years successfully. In fact, experiencing financial stress as you age can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. According to Verywell Mind, it can lead to anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, stomachaches, and headaches.

While everyone’s financial situation is different, there are steps you can take to become more secure. Here are some financial wellness tips to consider as you age.

Plan Ahead

Retiring is a wonderful milestone to achieve in life. There’s a lot to look forward to, but it’s important to plan ahead to ensure you can afford the lifestyle you envision for yourself. Before you start celebrating, determine your goals during retirement and create a plan to achieve them. If you have a partner, discuss your thoughts and aspirations openly – you might have different ideas of how you’d like to spend retirement.

Whether you want to travel, maintain independence, spend more time with family, buy a second home, or retire in a different location, these activities all involve money. Once you know your goals, determine if they’re feasible with your current financial situation and do research on the requirements needed to achieve them. For instance, if you want to buy a retirement home, knowing how much mortgage you can afford can help you narrow down your options and ensure you aren’t overspending. Considering the cost and financial implications of your goals as you age can help you live within your means.

Create a Spending Plan

As you age and eventually retire, your income will decrease when you stop working. Since most seniors depend solely on their retirement savings and Social Security benefits during this time, it’s important to create an organized spending plan to live on. As you get older, reevaluate your financial situation to ensure you’re prepared for the drop in income.

Once you know how much you have in savings, create a budget to live on during retirement. Compare your monthly income to your living expenses and account for any goals you want to save up for. If you can, try to eliminate any unnecessary expenses and spending like unused subscriptions or regular dining out to save some extra cash. With your change in lifestyle, you may be able to save on car insurance rates since you won’t be driving to work, and you can also  take advantage of senior discounts and deals. Having an organized budget will help you organize your spending so your savings will last you throughout retirement.

Pay Off Debt

Having debt at any point in your life can be stressful, but this can become a major burden as you get older and have less income. Whether it’s credit card debt, a car loan, mortgage, or other forms of borrowed money, these can prevent you from achieving your retirement goals or even retiring at all. To ensure your finances are healthy as you age, create a plan to pay off any outstanding debt.

Small steps like cutting back on expenses and dedicating that money toward debt repayment can be helpful, but you can also get a part-time job or sell homemade goods for some extra income. Try to tackle high-interest debt first to save money on interest payments, and work your way down. By paying more than the minimum amount and more than once a month, you can save money long-term and get your debt paid off faster. If you have several loans, you can also consolidate your debt into a single payment to secure a lower interest rate.

Protect Yourself from Scams

Seniors are common targets for financial scams. In fact, older Americans lost almost $1 billion in scams in 2020. As you get older, it’s important to protect your finances so you don’t become a victim of elder fraud. Consider these tips to secure your money:

  • Put alerts on your bank accounts for suspicious activity or large withdrawals.
  • Put your name and number on do not call lists.
  • Do not provide your personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account information, PIN, or password to unsolicited calls or requests.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you think you’ve experienced a scam, report it to the proper authorities.

Consider Assisted Living

As your body and needs change when growing older, you may want additional assistance. Assisted living can help seniors age in a safe and comfortable environment. The cost of assisted living can vary, and some services may be covered by certain Medicare coverage.

Amber Court Assisted Living and HarborView Home (an Amber Court Community) offer both luxurious yet affordable accommodations that can cater to different budgets. We allow seniors to continue living in their residences if their assets are depleted, which provides them the safety and comfort of aging in place. Our mission is to preserve dignity, promote well-being, and provide quality care where each person is treated with kindness, compassion, and respect.

Contact Amber Court Assisted Living Communities today for an individualized discussion about how to manage your assisted living costs in our lovingly managed assisted living community.

Social Isolation in Seniors – the Real Risks

Social disconnection doesn’t just affect seniors’ mental health and quality of life, but their physical health too.

Social isolation and loneliness in the elderly is an increasing problem in the United States, but too often it’s one we don’t want to think about. The older adult population is growing. With that comes the risk that some seniors may lose the social connections that they need to thrive.

The Health Impact of Social Isolation on the Elderly

It can be difficult to measure loneliness and social disconnection precisely. The experience varies dramatically from person to person. There is strong evidence though that social isolation in the elderly is a problem that puts their physical health at risk:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine noted that recent studies have  found that:

  • Lack of relationships was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
  • Poor social relationships were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
  • Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety.
  • Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4x increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.

The Risks of Loneliness

Aging and retiring from work are a major life transition. They can pose significant challenges to the health and well-being of older adults.

Large-scale studies have shown that around 25% of retirees in the US experience a significant decline in their health and well-being during this period. For every social group that participants reported losing in the years following retirement, they reported a 10% lower quality of life 6 years later.

While a decline in health is not universal and many factors are at play, overall there is evidence that social isolation in the elderly plays an important part in their health. Social relationships are a significant predictor of longevity. Social connections have shown to be even stronger influences than other health behaviors such as:

  • physical exercise,
  • smoking or
  • alcohol consumption.

Overall, socially engaged seniors report reduced depression and better cognitive health.

Special Populations Are At Higher Risk

Certain populations of older adults are at even higher risk for loneliness and social detachment. These include immigrants, LGBT populations, and minorities.

There has been less research done in these groups but the research that does exist shows that these populations experience loneliness and its impacts more often than other groups.

First-generation immigrants may experience stressors that increase their isolation. These include:

  • Language barriers
  • Differences in community
  • Family dynamics
  • Newer relationships that lack history

What Causes Social Isolation in the Elderly?

Social connection is a term used to describe the structure, function, and quality of human relationships and interactions.

Social isolation in the elderly and others occurs when there is a lack of or limited extent of social contact with others.  Loneliness is the subjective feeling of being lonely or negatively perceiving your lack of social connections.

Not all people who are socially isolated are lonely. Some people may naturally spend more time by themselves and are not bothered by it. Additionally, it is possible to have many social connections but still feel lonely if those connections don’t meet the person’s needs.

What’s most important is that older adults feel socially supported. Social support refers to a person’s ability to get their needs met by others in their social network. The amount of social support needed is unique to each individual.

Social Isolation Symptoms To Watch For

The signs and symptoms of social isolation in the elderly can vary from person to person. If you find yourself or your loved one consistently feeling any of the following, you might be suffering from a lack of connection or loneliness.

●      Feeling Unable to Connect with Others

  • You may have friends or family around but struggle to feel connected on a deeper level. You may have casual friends or acquaintances but don’t feel like you have a “best friend” or someone who “gets you.

●      Feeling Isolated Even Around Others

  • Even if you have friends and family around, you still feel isolated or separate. You feel like you are in your own bubble even when you are out in public spaces.

●      Doubting Your Self-worth

  • If you are feeling like you try to connect with others but it isn’t reciprocated, you may start to doubt yourself. Feeling less than or doubting your worth regularly can be a symptom of chronic loneliness.

●      Feeling Exhausted When You Try to Engage

  • When you are dealing with chronic loneliness, trying to engage socially can leave you feeling burnt out or exhausted even though you may think socializing was what you wanted.

How To Keep Seniors Connected

Social isolation in the elderly is not an inevitable fact of life. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever for seniors to stay connected to friends and family. Here are some ways that seniors can stay socially active as they age:

help seniors connect with others
Help seniors use tech to connect with others
  1. Seniors can seek out groups with similar interests. Whether it be a class for something they have wanted to learn, a volunteer group, or a faith-based group, group activities can be a lower-pressure way to meet new friends.
  2. An assisted living community can allow seniors to maintain their independence while still having easy access to friends and social activities.
  3. Technology is becoming more user-friendly every year. Seniors may find it easier than ever to utilize social media, video conferencing, or other communication technologies to keep in contact.
  4. If you do feel like isolation is causing depression, reach out for help and come up with a plan to manage and increase your connection.

Assisted Living Can Help

Isolation and loneliness can take a toll on older adults. Assisted living can help seniors stave off social disconnection by providing a supportive environment to age in place.

Some of the features at Amber Court Assisted Living that can help promote a sense of social connection and combat social isolation in older adults include:

  • Restaurant-style dining
  • Spacious recreation areas (indoor and outdoor)
  • Relaxation and social lounges
  • On-site hair, barber and (at some locations) even nail salons
  • Easy access to local transportation (at some locations)
  • Scheduled group activities every day
  • Regular, on-site visits by gerontologists and other specialists such as cardiologists, gerontologists and more

Reach out to Amber Court Assisted Living today and find out how we can help your family to prevent social isolation in someone you love.

Maintaining Both Safety and Independence

The little tasks we take for granted as part of day-to-day living are the things that can actually become safety concerns for senior citizens. At any age, our independence is something we hold dear – but even more so as we get older. At the same time, the smallest tasks can become risks. We often think aging in place at the same home one has been living in for years or even decades equals independence, but our own stairs and stoves are just two of many things that can get dangerous when it comes to senior living. Seniors often think that it’s one or the other – independence vs. safety. That may have been true decades ago, but now it’s very possible to age in place and keep one’s independence, stay safe and truly enjoy being a senior.

What kind of risks can aging in place at one’s family home, long after the nest is empty, could there be?

Common Risks to Senior Living at Home

Falls

The most common safety issue for seniors is falling. Falls are the most common cause of head injuries among older adults. Falls also cause more than 95 percent of hip fractures among seniors. Seniors are often unable to live independently after being injured in a fall.

Cooking Safety

Cooking is one of the leading causes of fire at home. There is a 2.5x risk of being injured in a kitchen fire for seniors than the general population according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Physical impairments, medication side effects, memory impairments, and lack of someone around to help all increase the risk of a fire occurring while cooking.

Medical Emergencies

Older adults experience similar health problems as younger adults. However, these problems may present differently or be brushed off as normal aging. In senior patients, minor illnesses can lead to deterioration resulting in immobility, confusion, or falls.  For older adults with less social support, this can result in not having someone available to recognize and call for help in an emergency.

Social Isolation

While not the most obvious, social isolation is also a senior safety issue.  Studies have shown that about 25% of retirees in the US experience a significant drop in health and well-being after retirement. Increasingly, medical literature points to the fact that social factors have a profound impact on older adult’s health. Social relationships with others are a significant predictor of their longevity… even more so than other behaviors such as physical exercise, smoking, or consuming alcohol!

Assisted Living Helps Seniors Live Safely

Assisted living allows seniors to maintain their independence while still receiving any personal care assistance they might need. Additionally, seniors can “age in place”. This means that care can be customized as needs change without having to move.

Senior Living with Independence and Wellbeing
Every day is a day with friends

Physical Spaces

Assisted living communities are specifically designed with senior safety in mind. It is specifically constructed to promote accessibility and mobility for older adults. This can include features such as ramps, hand railings, raised toilets, specially designed walk-in showers, and grab bars in bathrooms. They can also have amenities, services and activities that improve their quality of life!

Having Help Right There, Always

Many assisted living communities feature emergency call buttons. Staff is notified in case of falls or medical concerns. This means seniors don’t have to worry about struggling to contact help or waiting to be found after a medical event at home.

Financial Freedom

Finances are often a real concern in retirement. Some assisted living communities offer Medicaid solutions that ensure a resident can continue aging in place, even if their financial situation changes. That’s an enormous burden lifted for any senior!

Household Safety & Maintenance

Older adults living alone are responsible for maintaining their own homes, which can be much harder than it used to be. Most important are smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and keeping fire extinguishers current. Other household concerns like water heaters, plumbing and even basic handiwork can be insurmountable setbacks for the senior living alone.

Some assisted living communities work with Medicaid, which allows residents to age in place, even if their financial situation changes.

On-Site Medical Care at Amber Court
On-site care at Amber Court

The Best of Both Worlds at Amber Court Assisted Living

At Amber Court, assisted living residents enjoy private or semi-private rooms. This allows for independence while also having access to amenities that help them remain safe and socially connected.

These include services that promote senior safety such as:

  • A front desk concierge
  • Restaurant-style dining rooms
  • On-site nursing services
  • Regular visits by General Practitioners, Gerontologists and other specialists
  • Personal care assistance as needed
  • Someone always available to help

You can also prevent social isolation and maintain connections with amenities such as:

  • Easy access to local transportation
  • On-site hair and barber services
  • Social lounges and recreation areas
  • Outdoor social areas
  • Medicaid options
On-Site Hair Salons at Amber Court
On-site hair salons at Amber Court

Concerns About Senior Safety During the Pandemic

Many seniors are justifiably concerned about living in senior housing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Assisted living facilities aren’t set up the same as nursing homes. This is an important difference.

In nursing homes, there are often multiple residents living in a room. Staff is in and out all day providing care. In assisted living, residents can enjoy private or semi-private accommodations with only the help from staff that they need.

Along with more spacious living accommodations, assisted living facilities such as Amber Court have several recreational spaces. These allow for safe, socially distant activities for those who want them.

Amber Court Assisted Living Facilities follow all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and protocols. They also follow all state Department of Health regulations for protective equipment, infection control, and visitations.

For many seniors, assisted living offers the best quality of life the retired years can offer – both the independence of aging in place with the safety, services and socialization needed to stay as healthy and happy as possible.

Considering Assisted Living?

Assisted living can be an easy and effective way to maintain independence and safety as you age. The services provided in assisted living can help you avoid common senior safety issues associated with falls, cooking, medical emergencies, and social isolation.

At Amber Court, we believe everyone deserves to age in a comfortable, safe, and cheerful environment. Our mission is to preserve dignity, promote well-being, and provide quality care. We emphasize individuality and enjoyment in a warm, nurturing environment.

Considering an assisted living community in the New York or New Jersey area? Contact Amber Court Assisted Living today to talk to us about how we can help with both senior safety and independence.

How To Maintain Independence As You Age

Being able to maintain independence as you age is a major concern for almost every senior.

The natural effects of aging can make independent living harder than it was when you were younger. Increased difficulty with mobility, isolation, and loneliness, and financial strains are some of the contributors to a loss of independence in aging adults.

Fortunately, it’s never been easier to maintain independence with the number of resources, programs, and services available to help you. In other words, you don’t have to let your age define what you can and cannot do.

By focusing on a few key areas, we’re going to discuss how you can help maintain your independence even as you get older.

 

Why Maintaining Independence Is So Important

Loss of independence as you age can be discouraging. Especially when you’ve spent your entire life living independently. You’re accustomed to working, raising a family, and making your own decisions.

It has also been shown to lead to increased depression and make other health issues worse.

In contrast, physical movement and social interaction can increase blood flow to the brain, which helps fend off dementia.

Some common benefits of senior independence that demonstrate how important it is to empower older adults to live independent lives:

  • Feeling like an individual
  • Maintaining balance and strength
  • Keeping a sense of purpose
  • Aiding with memory skills

 

Ways That Seniors Can Maintain Independence

You can’t avoid all the effects of aging that may put up barriers to independence. However, there are a few key areas to focus on that can increase your ability to live your life as you choose.

 

Keep On Top of Your Health

Keeping on top of your health can prevent small problems from becoming larger ones. Whether you’re male or female, the basic advice for staying healthy as you age is the same. For instance:

  • Eat healthy
  • Get enough sleep
  • Stay physically and mentally active
  • Take any prescription medications as ordered
  • Keep up with routine health screenings
  • Get regular eye and dental exams

 

Stay Socially Connected

Staying socially connected is essential for health and well-being at any age. It may be especially important to seniors. Relationship satisfaction and social well-being may well increase in later life. This can help promote physical health.

The lack of meaningful social connections is associated with reduced quality of life, unhealthy behaviors, and poor health outcomes.

Maintaining connections with friends, family, and neighbors contributes to a sense of purpose and belonging.  This can lead to increased memory skills, greater activity, and greater feelings of independence.

 

Have Your Plans In Place Before You Need Them

Legally documenting your wishes for your health and assets well before you need to is a smart way to retain control of your decisions as you age. It also removes stress from your family members and helps them ensure that your wishes are followed.

There are several types of documents you’ll want to have on hand. These include a will, a healthcare power of attorney, a power of attorney for your finances, an advanced directive, or a living trust. Some of these can even be drawn up without an attorney.

 

Stay Physically Active

Exercise can lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers. Therefore it can allow you to stay healthier longer in your later years.

It may also helps you to retain balance and strength. These are key factors in a person’s ability to stay independent.

Seniors who don’t work on strength are more likely to lose muscle mass and core balance. This then puts them at greater risk for falls and injuries which can reduce independence.

Once you’re cleared by your doctor, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.

 

How Seniors Can Maintain Independence in Assisted Living

Seniors may fear that the only other option to living in their own home is a nursing home. Although that’s not always the case. Other living arrangements can provide seniors with the assistance that they need to maintain independence.

For example, assisted living arrangements can provide seniors with more freedom and independence than they might imagine.

Assisted living is a residential and social setting where seniors can receive as much or as little care as needed. This allows seniors to maintain their personal best by pairing independence and stimulating social activities with support. This can include residential services, medical supervision, and personal care assistance.

If your current living arrangements are no longer safe or desirable, assisted living can offer an extraordinary option for seniors. Professional staff provides nurturing support while appreciating each resident’s individuality.

 

Aging in Place

Aging is a natural process that extends over a lifetime. It is an environment that adapts to meet the evolving needs of older people. This allows them to remain in familiar surroundings. A residence with an “Aging in Place” philosophy allows comfort and continuity where seniors can choose to stay as long as they desire.

 

Financial Freedom

Assisted living can also add to a senior’s financial freedom. Many residences offer “affordable luxury” and inclusive rates. In addition, there are often programs that can offer assistance for services that you may need. An individual can age in place with knowing that they can continue to enjoy the safety and comfort of their residence.

 

Medical Supervision

Assisted living communities provide seniors with comprehensive health services. They generally have a professional team specializing in the most common medical areas. This allows for routine visits, on-site nursing, skilled therapies, and medication management in an accessible setting.

 

Personal Care Assistance

An assisted living community can assess each person’s individuality and needs when they first move-in. This allows them to offer personalized support to seniors to provide them as much, or as little, support as they need.

 

Consider Amber Court Assisted Living

Amber Court Assisted Living provides a comfortable, safe, and cheerful environment. Above all, each person is treated with kindness, compassion, and respect.

Our mission is to preserve dignity, promote well-being, and provide quality care. We emphasize individuality and enjoyment in a warm, nurturing environment.

Residents of Amber Court Assisted Living Communities are provided a family-like atmosphere. This includes a culture of integrity and trust that honors each precious life.

If you are considering an assisted living community in New York or New Jersey to help you maintain independence as you age, contact Amber Court to learn more about how we can help.

The 5 Legal Documents Every Senior Should Have

Most aging specialists agree that there are certain legal documents every senior should have to protect themselves and their assets…so why do so many seniors put this off?

 

Maybe it’s because we have a hard time admitting that we’re aging or view it as giving up control of our decisions or property. In fact, having the right legal documents in place is actually the opposite of giving up control.

 

Here are 5 legal documents every senior should have to make sure that their wishes are known and to choose who will carry those wishes out if they aren’t able to do so themselves.

 

Why It’s Important To Have A Plan for the Future

It’s important to not only have a plan for the future but also to communicate that plan to your loved ones and have it documented. This is so that they can ensure that your wishes are followed.

 

If you were to become too sick to make medical choices for yourself, would your family know what interventions you want and which to say ‘no’ to? You can eliminate the stress and confusion for your family by legally documenting your wishes.

 

If you were to pass away without a will or estate plan, the state will decide which family members will inherit your estate and in what proportions. What you want to happen to your assets may be very different.

 

Divorces, remarriage, and blended families are more common these days and can make estate planning more complex. Legal documents that clearly lay out your wishes may reduce conflict and speculation over what you “would have” wanted.

 

Legal Documents Every Senior Should Have

If you have a simple estate and an uncomplicated family situation, you may be able to create several of these documents yourself for little cost. If you have considerable assets or a more complex family situation, an experienced lawyer can make sure you cover all your bases.

 

1. A Will

A will allows you to spell out how you would like your assets and property to be distributed after you pass away.

 

You can designate property to be given to:

 

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Charities
  • Schools
  • Anyone you would like

 

It also allows you to name an executor. This is a person whose job it is to make sure that the stipulations in your will are carried out. You can also name guardians for minor and dependant children and pets.

 

A will can also serve as a back-up for other estate planning documents such as a living trust. Your will will cover any property that you forget to transfer into a trust, acquire after the trust is made, or is transferred incorrectly. This can help you avoid probate.

 

A will is an essential document that can be put in place (sometimes without even needing an attorney) well before it is needed. It can be updated as often as you would like if circumstances or your wishes change.

 

2. Health Care Power of Attorney

A “power of attorney” allows you to choose someone to act on your behalf in important matters. A durable power of attorney for healthcare means that you can name someone to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to speak for yourself.

 

These decisions can include: consenting to or refusing care, procedures, or treatments; making arrangements for hospitalization or psychiatric treatment; managing access to medical records; or deciding to move you to another facility.

 

This type of power of attorney should also include what’s known as a “HIPAA release” which allows the designated person access to your medical records and gives them the ability to discuss your care with your doctors.

 

3. Power of Attorney for Finances

Having someone to help manage your finances if you become unable is as important as having someone to help you make healthcare decisions.

 

A power of attorney for finances allows a person that you select to have access to your financial records and make transactions on your behalf.

 

These are some transactions that a person with financial power of attorney may handle on your behalf:

 

  • Paying bills and taxes
  • Managing investments
  • Buying insurance
  • Paying for medical care
  • Selling assets as needed

 

You should select a financial agent that you feel will act in your best interest. This can be a family member, friend, or a  trusted financial advisor.

 

4. Living Will (Advanced Healthcare Directive)

You don’t want to leave your family with the difficult task of trying to guess what you would have wanted in the event of a serious medical illness. This is where a living will (also known as a medical directive or advanced healthcare directive) comes in.

 

A medical directive should include detailed instructions regarding matters such as:

 

  • Resuscitation
  • Intubation
  • Invasive life-sustaining measures
  • Pain relief
  • Antibiotics
  • Life support
  • Organ Donation

 

Many people have a living will drawn up at the same time as their regular will. Often you can purchase a package deal.

 

An easy no-cost way to get an advanced healthcare directive is the “Five Wishes” from the nonprofit organization Aging with Dignity. This document is legally valid in most states. It includes all the instructions and information that you need to create a valid advance directive.

 

5. A Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is similar to a will in that it allows you to decide who will receive your assets after you are gone.  You move the property that you want into the trust and decide who it will be granted to after you pass. You then act as the executor or trustee of the trust.

 

A revocable living trust is set up when you are still well and able to manage your own affairs.  This allows you to manage your assets in your name as long as you are able.  If you desire, it can be undone or changed.

 

You would name a “successor trustee” who will take over managing the assets if you become too unwell or pass away.

 

This type of trust allows you to avoid the time and expense of probate and ensures the privacy of your estate.

 

In Summary

You can avoid added stress, cost, and time for you and your family members in an already difficult situation. All it takes is having a few specific legal documents in order.

 

There are legal documents every senior should have in order before you need them. Doing this will ensure that your family members and medical providers know how to make decisions and meet your wishes if you’re unable to speak for yourself.

Can I Afford Assisted Living Costs?

How To Cover Your Assisted Living Costs As You Age

 

One of the biggest concerns that most people have as they age is covering the costs of the care that they will need.

Since everyone’s financial situation and care needs are unique, there’s no one right answer for everyone. You may need to consult your individual state laws, your accountant, or an attorney specializing in estate planning or elder care laws to come up with an individualized plan.

In general though, here is some information to consider as you begin planning to cover your assisted living costs as you age.

 

How Much Will I Need For Assisted Living Costs?

The cost of assisted living can vary by state and the amenities offered at the facility you choose. On average, you can expect to need $4,200 – $6,050 per month to cover your assisted living costs.

These funds will cover your living accommodations, meals, social activities, residential services, medical supervision, and personal care assistance.

This will provide you with a community specially designed to provide you with support to retain your maximum level of independence possible while you age.

 

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living?

In general, Medicare does not cover the costs of assisted living or any other custodial care arrangement. However, some of the services provided at an assisted living may be covered depending on what type of Medicare coverage you have.

 

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It covers inpatient stays at hospitals, mental health facilities, skilled nursing facilities, as well as hospice and home healthcare. It will not cover assisted living costs.

 

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers medically necessary outpatient care and some preventative care. It will not cover your assisted living cost directly, but it may cover some of the medical services that you might receive there.

Some examples of services covered under Part B include:

  • Some lab work and blood tests
  • Preventative vaccines
  • Heart disease screenings
  • Skilled therapies such as physical or occupational therapy
  • Cancer screenings
  • Diabetic supplies
  • Kidney dialysis services
  • Chemotherapy

 

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C are plans offered by approved private insurance companies and are also known as Advantage plans. They include the benefits provided under Parts A and B and often additional services such as vision, hearing, or dental.

Part C will not directly cover assisted living expenses, however, they will cover your medical services. Some plans may have additional benefits that cover fitness and wellness activities and transportation to and from appointments.

 

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. It covers Medicare-approved prescription medications no matter where you live, whether at home or in an assisted living.

 

Medigap

Medigap is supplemental insurance that can be purchased to cover services that Original Medicare doesn’t. It generally does not cover assisted living, however.

 

Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living?

Medicaid is a program partly funded by the national government and partly funded by individual states. The federal government sets guidelines for how Medicaid dollars must be spent, but these guidelines leave each state a considerable amount of their own discretion.

This means that Medicaid assistance for assisted living costs varies by state. By and large, though, most states have similar coverage guidelines as Medicare.

This means that Medicaid won’t cover any room and board costs for assisted living, but they may cover a portion of the costs that are related to services such as:

  • Personal care
  • Homemaker assistance
  • Skilled nursing
  • Emergency response systems
  • Case management
  • Transportation

 

How Do I Cover Assisted Living Costs?

There are a wide variety of ways to cover the cost of assisted living that aren’t picked up by other programs.

Some of the ways that people may choose to cover their assisted living costs include:

 

Personal Resources

The majority of people fund assisted living costs out of personal funds. These can come from a number of sources such as:

  • Pensions
  • Retirement Savings (401k, IRAs, or other retirement accounts)
  • Proceeds from selling stocks
  • Proceeds from selling a home or other property
  • Social security income
  • Residual income from your working years

 

Long-Term Care Insurance

A long term care insurance policy can help pay for assisted living costs without requiring you to tap into your savings or assets. These policies vary widely regarding what and how much they will cover each month so make sure that you read through the coverage details carefully when you purchase one.

 

Veterans Benefits

If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). The VA offers a benefit that can be used to pay for assisted living costs known as Non-Service Connected Improved Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance (or simply, Aid and Attendance).

As of 2019, the program offers assistance up to $1,881 per month for a single veteran and up to $2,230 per month for a married veteran.

 

Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is a loan that you take out against the built-up equity on a home that you own. The loan is repaid after the borrower leaves the home, often by selling the home. This may be an option for married seniors where only one of the spouses needs assisted living care. This may not be the right option for you if you want your home to remain in the family.

 

Assisted Living At Amber Court

Amber Court Assisted Living Communities is proud to offer accommodations that offer both luxury and affordability.

We allow seniors to “age in place” with the knowledge that if assets become depleted, they can continue to enjoy the safety and comfort of their Amber Court Assisted Living Community residence.

By utilizing community-based Medicaid and monthly Social Security or Supplemental Security Income entitlements, seniors can be provided with vital services such as:

  • Personal care
  • Room and board
  • Housekeeping
  • Home health aides
  • Skilled therapies
  • Case management

 

Contact Amber Court Assisted Living Communities today for an individualized discussion about how to manage your assisted living costs in our lovingly managed assisted living community.

We All Need Someone To Care For Us

We All Need Someone To Care For Us

 

Starting from when we first draw breath as a newborn baby to the last moment of life, we all need someone to care for us. We all want to live the rest of our lives in a comfortable and peaceful place we call our own.

Nevertheless, we value our space as much as we value our independence. Our obsession with self-reliance has imparted in you the spirit of independence.

As the years go by, we get older and begin to lose certain physical abilities. This might further evoke the need for assistance or care.

Thinking about this calls to mind the question: “How can I take care of myself as I grow older?”

Deciding When You Need Someone To Care For You

As challenging as it sounds, aging is inevitable. Eventually, the changes in our physical and mental capabilities may leave you at a loss once the senior years start. Then more thoughts begin to spring up within you.

It cannot be denied that the number of people who are aging alone is growing. Experts on geriatrics call them “elder orphans”- seniors without adult children, spouse, relatives, or other support groups to depend on for support, company, and help during their senior years. Such elderly ones may find themselves without a support system since the bulk of the care provided as one gets older is provided by the family. Such a condition prompts the need to find someone to care for you.

Amber Court Family always has a special interest in such your loved ones. They set the standard for quality care and lifestyle for seniors, in a residential setting.

Elderly care satisfies the needs and requirements of senior citizens at various stages and circumstances. Elderly care encompasses everything from assisted living and medical care to adult daycare and residential care.

Although aging in itself isn’t a reason to think about opting for senior care, it’s usually the various diseases and physical limitations that accompany old age that evokes the need. For assisted living and other forms of geriatric care, Amber Court provides adequate quality care to seniors who need it.

 

Elderly Care and Assisted Living

Senior care is not always necessary. Some senior citizens never required any type of care in their later years.

However, elderly care often becomes a challenge when a beloved one begins experiencing difficulty with activities of daily living. These activities may include cooking, cleaning, shopping, dressing, bathing, driving, taking meds, etc. A general diminution in health is often the reason for the introduction of senior care, as it may indicate a waning ability to independently handle activities of daily living.

As seniors live longer, they tend to expect special or unique care options and hence they become much more discerning when it comes to their living arrangements. Rather than settling to being confined to a senior home just because they need some help with the activities of daily living, many seniors now prefer to live in residences that combine necessary care with independent living.

Hence, the Amber Court Family effectively suits that particular desire of seniors by making assisted living possible for them. By utilizing the Medicaid program, this service is rendered in a way that makes it very affordable.

Assisted living refers to residences that provide seniors with someone to care for them while allowing them to maintain as much privacy and independence as possible. These residences provide progressive care. They assist with daily tasks to make life more fun and worth living for senior citizens. They can otherwise be also called senior homes. As the name implies, senior homes reflect the best living conditions for seniors while they get the assistance they need.

Memory care

Old age is commonly associated with the fragility of the physical body: the wrinkling of the skin, pain in the joints, and eye-related issues. Even the mind manifests its aging with series of unusual forgetfulness. But what happens when the mind ages in a way that disrupts a person’s personality or memories?

These are the saddening effects of Alzheimer’s or dementia. While it is easy to prescribe stronger reading glasses or medication for arthritis, healing a mind with Alzheimer’s or dementia is not possible, leaving families with the only choice of adapting to their loved one’s condition.

Loss of memory is a major issue common amongst seniors. When it becomes difficult to care for seniors with such medical conditions at home, you may want to consider memory care. Memory care is a form of senior living that provides intensive, professional care for people with memory issues.

Assisted living communities have created special memory care units for dementia patients. Memory care is a growing sector of the senior housing market, with the number of units rising 55 percent from 2013 to 2018, according to the Seniors Housing Business magazine. Regulation of memory care varies from state to state, and so does the quality of memory care centers. It is important to visit and ask questions as you consider whether memory care is the right option for your beloved.

Memory care communities are retirement communities designed to care for seniors who have Alzheimer’s or other memory-related diseases. If a retirement community has an Alzheimer’s facility, it is often separate from the assisted living areas. Fortunately, Amber Care has provision for memory care or enhanced care in Westbury. Its services and amenities are designed to enhance the residents’ quality of life and create a sense of safety and security.

Getting Care At Amber Court

Adequate and satisfactory care for an individual’s well-being, physically, mentally, and emotionally is the priority of Amber Court. They provide a greater level of assistance to those with more complex needs.

Amber Court Assisted Living Community has its major focus on giving special care and attention to seniors who need it. This allows luxury that you can comfortably afford. So, cost should not be a discouraging factor because the services are very affordable.

An individual can “age gracefully” with the knowledge that they can continue to have someone to care in the safety and comfort of their Assisted Living Community.

 

 

Why Choose Assisted Living?

Why Choose Assisted Living?

You might be wondering why a family would choose assisted living for their loved one.

As our elderly loved ones age, you do your very best to take care of them for as long as you can.  Caring for them and tending to their daily needs can be very compensating yet exhausting!

But as time passes, it can become increasingly demanding and far more than you’re capable of handling. When this happens, you have to consider what’s best for everyone.

 

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities are specially designed for seniors who want to remain active and independent but need a hand to steer a happy life. Assisted living communities just like Amber Court provide benefits that may not be available to seniors living in their homes.

The extent of care concerned with assisted living provides support so that an aging person can enjoy optimal independence. An assisted senior living community is the perfect solution for seniors who might need support with activities of daily living and other sorts of care.

With a supportive staff and updated technology, residents can maximize their independence. They can also live daily in a warm, comfortable, safe environment while enjoying new experiences.

 

Reasons Why You Should Consider Assisted Living

Choosing to relocate aging loved ones out of their home and into an assisted senior living community can be difficult. So, why should you consider it?

There are lots of reasons to consider assisted living communities. As a social residential setting, assisted living offers amazing services that fulfill both present and future needs.

 

 

Meal preparation

Meal preparation becomes harder as you age, putting seniors at higher risk for poor nutrition. Grocery purchase and going to the stores is often a burden for the elderly. The assistance of a caregiver at home daily is not quite feasible for everyone. So, for that reason, the best option is to make special provisions for meals to be prepared based on a nutritionally balanced diet developed by a registered dietitian.

 

Assistance with Daily Activities

One of the foremost important benefits of assisted senior living is receiving help with daily activities. Some residents may require help with getting dressed, bathing, personal hygiene, or going to the bathroom.  Assistance with daily activities also helps to guarantee the security of the residents.

Caregivers are available 24 hours each day, 7 days a week, to assist residents with personal daily activities. Residents can usually create a schedule for routine private care, including eating meals, bathing, or getting dressed in the morning. However, caregivers are always available to handle unscheduled needs also. In addition to daily activities, assisted living offers rehabilitation services, salon services, and cultural outings.

 

A Comfortable Living Environment

Assisted living communities offer maintenance-free apartments or suites with a full range of amenities and supportive services. There is a home-like feeling with personal privacy, freedom, and independence.

 

Medication Management

As people age, managing medication becomes overwhelming. Identifying medications becomes difficult with diminished vision. Remembering to take medication becomes difficult with impaired cognition, and getting refills becomes difficult as more frequent doctors’ visits are necessary, as are trips to the pharmacy. You can consider assisted living service as a medication management option if daily monitoring of care isn’t possible at home. Not only can you assist in the administration of medication, but you also work alongside your physician to manage refills and monitor any medication changes.

 

 

Socialization

Without someone to share your everyday joy with, you start to feel lonely. Living alone can cause isolation and depression. With assisted living communities, you’ve got the chance to socialize with others and participate in various activities. Assisted living communities are the best way to prevent any unexpected decrease in socialization at home. Group activities, like cooking courses, painting, book clubs, and exercise classes, offer an excellent way to stay healthy. It is the best way to activate the spirit, body, and mind.

 

Safety risks

Assisted senior living is the best choice when the safety and wellbeing of an individual is in danger. If your elderly beloved is susceptible to falls, leaving hazardous appliances on, and/or unable to climb stairs unassisted, then formal intervention becomes necessary. Assisted living communities offer a comfortable and secure environment for the elderly. They offer an emergency response system so that individuals can call for help in case of an emergency. Knowing that majority of their needs can be met under one roof with housekeeping and laundry services available, alongside meal preparation, medication management, therapy, and on-site physician’s offices brings peace of mind.

 

Transportation

Most seniors can no longer drive, while others may prefer not to drive in heavy traffic.  Therefore, almost all communities offer transportation to residents’ doctor’s appointments. For those communities which provide scheduled social and cultural activities and community events. They also provide transportation to those events.

 

Safety/Peace of mind

Probably, the major reason for choosing assisted living is the reassurance that your elderly loved one is well taken care of.  Knowing that staff is available 24/7 to care for your loved one and that your elderly relative is enjoying a strong quality of life, gives you peace of mind. Additionally, one of the many benefits of assisted living is that it allows seniors in need of memory care, or those with physical challenges, to gain a sense of independence. Having secure entrances and exits provides greater protection for the residents. Furthermore, most communities have monitoring systems within the rooms that alert staff if a resident needs help.

 

Concerned About the Cost of Assisted Living?

Assisted senior living communities can range in cost significantly. Some communities, like Amber Court, work with Medicaid, whereas some communities are exclusively private pay.

Medicaid is a federal and state health insurance program for people with limited income and resources. For the elderly, the program offers lots of benefits, such as personal care and home care services. However, Medicaid benefits can vary from state to state.

To learn more about Medicaid in your area, you should visit your state website or visit the Social Security website at https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/medicaid.htm. These sites offer qualification information as well.

In NY, Medicaid has an  Assisted Living Program (ALP) that offers amazing Medicaid services for assisted living.

In NJ, the program is similar but referred to as the Medicaid-Waiver Program.

Most assisted living services only accept long-term care insurance and private pay. This cost may rise to $10,000/month or more. For people who cannot pay privately, they can utilize Medicaid to make Assisted Living more affordable. For a full list of communities that accept Medicaid, please visit your local state department of health website. These programs are generally best suited for those who have limited income and resources and may thrive in a less restrictive environment rather than being in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home.

The benefits of assisted living are endless as well as priceless. Finding a community that gives aging loved ones the care they need and deserve, and a chance to have a great quality of life, is invaluable. The Amber Court Assisted living family provides privacy and independence, but they also provide care and safety for your loving family member.

 

When Is It Time For Assisted Senior Living?

When Is It Time For Assisted Senior Living?

Everyone would love to live in their personal homes, take care of themselves and retain their independence right up until the end. The sad truth however is that most people will not get to do that. Over the years, facts and statistics have shown about  70%  of seniors above the age of 65 should expect to need long-term care for at least a couple of years, probably in an assisted senior living.

How do you know when it’s time for assisted senior living?

Choosing Assisted Senior Living

When the time comes for a senior to make that move, it is never an easy pill to swallow. Nonetheless, for many seniors, there comes a point where living independently simply is not safe anymore.

If your loved ones cannot adequately take care of themselves anymore or perform basic daily household activities,  they should consider the safest alternative which is an assisted living or senior home.

 

The Signs That Reveal It’s Time For Assisted Living

Knowledge about the importance and benefits of assisted senior living is one thing. Realizing when it’s actually time to decide on availing yourself to such thoughtful and healthy initiative is another. Thus, the big question is raised – “How Do I Know It’s Time For Assisted Living?”

There is a simple phrase that goes this way – “family comes first”. One that most of us have heard over and over again and grown up with! Life has it that caring for our siblings, children, and finally, parents is just not avoidable. The dedication to caring especially for family often makes options such as assisted living seem to be out of the picture or an outrageous idea.

That is quite understandable, but the truth remains that the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of our senior relatives far outweighs our dedication to caring for them. Hence, assisted living may not just be necessary, but the best possible option for our parents and family members.

Here are telltale signs to know when it’s time for assisted senior living:

Life Events Gradually Makes Caring For Them Burdensome

One of the best ways to discern when it’s time for assisted living is the pace of life. As life progresses day to day, changes occur. We work long hours, relocate, build and raise families, and so much more. Life can be a constant whirlwind of change. The ever-changing circumstances of life can make rendering elderly care a herculean task. If you often find yourself in this situation, then it’s pretty obvious that the elderly members of the family will receive better care in assisted living.

Difficulty Performing Basic Tasks

We all do dozens of little tasks daily that we might take for granted – cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, paying bills, and so on. However, as time goes on, the effects of aging can get to a point where they are much harder to do. Carrying things or moving from room to room can get more painful, challenging, and exhausting. Suddenly the simple chore of laundry becomes much more difficult.

Does your loved one have a harder time accomplishing daily tasks? If yes is the answer, then it is a big sign that it is time for them to opt for an Assisted Living like Amber Court.

The Required Care Outweighs Our Capabilities

Another sign that it may be time to consider assisted living is when the care that our senior relatives need now exceeds what we can provide. In as much as we combat the thought of making them available for assisted senior living, we are not always the most qualified person to provide care to them at that later stage of their lives.

As their health deteriorates, the level of intensive care they require will only increase. This care is exactly what communities like Amber Court receive special training to provide. All residents receive 24-hour support with any form of assistance that they may need.

 Isolation Tendencies

Loneliness can be very detrimental to the health of a senior. It can be a severe illness that needs to be cured to avoid very fatal consequences. If they are inactive and not outgoing, then living somewhere they can easily and frequently tap into a community without leaving could do the trick.

An assisted living does not necessarily suggest less independence, rather it gives seniors wonderful access to a whole new social community. Relocating to an assisted living community is indeed a massive transition for sure, but the experience can be a positive one. Take time to find the community that best suits your loved one’s needs. At the end of the day, the concern is about their safety and your peace of mind.

Fight For Independence

The strong desire for independence is something we all hold very dear. Therefore, it is only natural for those we care about to resist our assistance. The gradual loss of our independence that comes with aging can be a very difficult and unpleasant experience, especially when you can distinctly remember being completely capable of performing those tasks in the past. It can also be quite embarrassing sometimes to ask for help with certain daily activities.

Think about it. The seniors you are trying to provide and care for right now are the same ones who used to provide for you. That enormous change in tide can be very depressing and saddening. No one likes to feel like a liability or that they are incapable.

This complex range of emotions can cause many older people to resist care provided by family members at every turn, leaving all parties frustrated. If this is a regular occurrence in your home, it may be in their best interest to move them into an assisted senior living. It can be easier for the caregivers to assist them because having never been a dependent in the senior’s life, there is less drive to prove their independence.

Other Signs That Suggest Assisted Senior Living:

  • Chores being neglected
  • Frequent injuries (even if minor)
  • Significant weight loss

 

When Its Time

If you or a loved one experiences any of the above situations, moving to an Amber Court Assisted Living may be the best option for you.

The Amber Court Family provides very efficient and reliable healthcare in the form of assisted living for the elderly. This family diligently sees to the needs of aging seniors who require care and attention physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially.

Contact us today and see how we can help with your assisted senior living needs.