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We’re Here to Help

Whether you’re just starting your senior living search or you’ve visited a laundry list of communities, we know the search for senior living options can be a stressful time. That’s why our mission at New Perspective Senior Living is to assist you in your decision, no matter what stage of the process you’re in. Our senior living facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Illinois are here to offer you the best care and support for you and your loved ones.

While most seniors say they would rather stay at home, recent research1 suggests a move to a senior living community provides great benefit to both the senior and the family. Consider these findings:

  • 73% of seniors say their overall quality of life improved after moving into an assisted living community
  • 73% say their nutrition improved
  • 64% say their social well-being improved
  • Nearly half say their emotional well-being improved

And for the adult child or loved one?

  • 59% say their relationship with their parent or senior loved one improved
  • 58% say their overall quality of life improved
  • 32% say their diet and exercise improved
  • 39% say their caregiving role had a lower impact on work

To help you navigate the myriad decisions and emotions you and your family might be facing, we’re here to be your personal resource. With years of experience, our team has been well trained to listen carefully and answer any questions you might have. They do this each day for families just like yours. They’ll help you navigate the sometimes delicate transition process so that you or your loved one thrives.

We’ve carefully selected the content below to discuss some of the most common questions we’ve heard over our nearly 20 years in senior housing. But, if you can’t find the answer to your question, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to serve you.
1 2016 A Place For Mom Quality of Life Survey

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Is Independent Living Right for Me?

While all of the statistics and evidence point to a more fulfilling lifestyle in an independent living community, the decision is still a difficult one for so many seniors. Indeed, you may go through a myriad of emotions. You might feel angry or embarrassed that you are unable maintain your current home. Or, maybe you are grieving the loss of a home filled with memories. Or, the thought of leaving everything you know can make you feel vulnerable and anxious; like you’re losing control of your life. Whatever emotions you might be feeling, please know they are completely normal. But, we also want you to know you are not alone in this.

For many seniors, a move to independent living has opened up a wonderful new chapter in life. A chapter filled with new interests, new friends and greater, yes, greater independence. Here are three myths we’d like to dispel about senior living.

3 Myths About Independent Living

 

Myth:

Living in a retirement community or senior apartment means losing independence.

Reality:

On the contrary, you’ll have your own living space to furnish as you wish without the hassles that come with it. You’ll also maintain your privacy and independence, while taking in all of the activities you may have been missing while living alone. The doors to your apartment lock and are controlled by you. You should feel at home and absolutely secure.

Myth:

Moving away from my family means no one will be around to help when needed.

Reality:

New Perspective Senior Living communities have built-in safety and security measures along with 24-hour staff, designed to reduce the worry that often comes from living alone. Features are in place to respond quickly in the event that you need someone to help you. From hanging the smallest picture to a more pressing medical need.

Myth:

Moving to independent living means giving up my favorite hobbies and activities.

Reality:

You’ll find that living in an independent living community will likely mean you’re busier than when you were living on your own. And, it likely means you will find others that enjoy the very same hobbies and activities that you like. New Perspective offers a variety of clubs and programs that appeal to a variety of interests. What’s more, doing your favorite activities with someone else can reduce the isolation you may have felt when living alone. And, you might find a new, enjoyable hobby to do with friends.

Tips for Making the Transition to Independent Living Easier

  • Decorate your new home. Hang familiar pictures and make sure you have space for your most important possessions—a favorite armchair or treasured bookcase, for example.
  • Pack well in advance of the move. Don’t add to the stress of the actual move by putting yourself in a position where you’ll need to make hasty decisions about what to take and what to discard.
  • Socialize. While you may be tempted to stay in your apartment you’ll feel comfortable much quicker if you get out and meet the other residents, participate in activities, and explore the amenities.
  • Go easy on yourself. Everyone adjusts to change differently, so give yourself a break, no matter what you’re feeling. However, if you feel like you’re taking longer than you think you should to adjust, it may help to talk to your family members, a trusted friend, or a therapist.
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How Do I Know It's Time to Have a Conversation With Mom or Dad?

Deciding if and when a move to a senior living community is right for your loved one can be a difficult decision. How does a person know the time is right? Luckily, it’s not a decision you have to make on your own. Usually, there are some tell-tale signs that it’s time to have a conversation with them.

  • Is the refrigerator empty or filled with spoiled food or is your parent or loved one losing weight? These may be signs that he or she isn’t eating well because shopping or cooking is difficult or they are forgetting the meal altogether.
  • Do you notice frequent bruises despite your parent or loved one’s best effort to try and cover them up? This may be a sign of falling, or mobility and balance problems.
  • Is your parent or loved one wearing the same clothes over and over again? Are they neglecting their personal hygiene? This can indicate that doing laundry and bathing is physically challenging and they require additional help.
  • Perhaps you’ve noticed the house and yard aren’t as clean and tidy as they used to be.
  • Does your parent or loved one forget things like doctor’s appointments or when to take medication? This may be a sign they are suffering from dementia and need additional help.
  • Is your parent or loved one depressed? Depression is common in seniors who are isolated and alone. A great social engagement program may help them thrive again.
  • Are you finding unpaid bills piling up? This is a good sign that he or she is not able to manage the daily logistics of running the house and may not be able to manage financial decisions.
  • Do you notice strange or inappropriate behavior? For example, your parent may dress inappropriately for the weather, or you may find unusual items placed in the refrigerator or oven. This can be a sign that he or she is experiencing confusion.

As you grapple with the decision to move a parent or loved one into a senior living community, please keep in mind that if it keeps them healthy, safe, happy and living life again, it probably is the best decision for them and you.

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Having the Conversation

Your parents might have lived in their home for decades, so it’s understandable that they are not eager to move to a new place when they get older. Even if the house is getting difficult to maintain or doesn’t meet their needs, there are years of memories there. They underestimate their abilities. Change can be hard.

It’s good to talk with your parents, while they are still healthy, about what might be needed to remain living independently — often parents and loved ones find some peace of mind in discussing those issues when things are going well. If you wait until a crisis occurs, you will have to make decisions quickly and you might not know your loved one’s wishes. But, how do you open up such a difficult topic? Here are a few tips:

Raise the issues indirectly. Mention a friend’s mother who recently moved into a senior community, or an article that you read about programs at a New Perspective Senior Living Community. Example: “Is that something that you might be interested in learning more about?”

Use a situation such as after an injury or when a parent is complaining about the difficulty of accomplishing everything he or she would like to accomplish to bring up a move. Mention how assisted living could help to prevent such injuries in the future or how it can provide extra help that will lighten your parent’s burden. Talk about how they can start living life again.

Find small ways to bridge the issue. For example: “I know you’re taking pills for arthritis, your heart and cholesterol. Would it help if you had one of those medication organizers you can buy in the drugstore?”

Share your own emotions. For example: “Dad, it’s hard for me to see you slowing down and I know you’ve always prided yourself on being independent. I imagine it’s difficult for you to ask for help, but what are some things that we can do to help you?”

Set the right tone. Once the topic has been brought up, listen to how your parent(s) feel about their current needs, concerns, worries and hopes for the future. What is important is to not guess or make assumptions about your parents’ preferences. Ask open-ended questions that get them to express their perceptions. Use communication that states your concern and avoids criticism.

Example: “I’m feeling concerned that you may fall coming down the stairs. I could put a 100-watt bulb at the bottom of the stairs and install a handrail.” Don’t say: “Going upstairs in your condition is ridiculous. You’re sure to fall.”

Take your parents around town to tour local assisted living communities. You can relieve some of Mom or Dad’s fears by showing them the kind of environment and activities that are available at a senior living community. From musical presentations and poker nights to bingo and dancing, we offer seniors a host of social interactions.

Get your parent’s doctor involved. If your parent’s doctor is able to speak with you without violating privacy concerns, plan to meet with him or her. Find out how much care your doctor thinks your parent actually needs. If the doctor agrees that assisted living could be useful, see if he or she will broach the topic with your parent.

Avoid role reversal. This IS IMPORTANT. Helping out doesn’t mean you are “parenting” your parents. The most productive interactions come when parents and adult children are equal in the relationship.

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Finding the Right "Fit"

If you’ve started the process of finding the right senior living solution, how do you find the right setting and care where your loved one will thrive? With so many options from which to choose, it means starting your search understanding your needs. Your search should be narrowed to those communities that are committed to helping your parent or loved one age successfully. That means, in addition to the quality of care, you should be evaluating the social atmosphere, the quality of the food, and the commitment to maintain mind and body fitness.

There are many important factors when choosing a senior living community as your parent or loved one’s next home. Ultimately what is most important in choosing a senior living community is that it feels friendly, safe, and comfortable. What is your gut feeling? The bottom line is that the right facility for you is the facility where you feel most at home. This is a personal preference. Would you prefer a smaller, cozier environment or would a larger community bustling with activities be more fitting?

  • Does the community have activities that your parent or loved one is interested in? Are there hobbies or activities on site? How about a fitness center, library or worship space?
  • Is the food appealing to your parent or loved one? Do they have a choice in what they eat each day? What kinds of food are served? Is it nutritious and appetizing?
  • And, finally, are the residents and staff caring and warm? Do they like being there? Make sure that, overall, you feel it is a community where your parent or loved one will fit in and develop new relationships.
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Making the Transition

The move to senior living, even if all parties are in agreement, can be a stressful time. There is so much to do and seemingly so little time to get it done. According to the National Center for Assisted Living, here are some of the ways you can support a loved one:

  • Acknowledge your loved one’s feelings of loss. Even in the best of situations—where your loved one willingly chose senior living—grief and feelings of loss are to be expected. Leaving one’s home is a huge upheaval. Don’t minimize their feelings or focus excessively on the positive. Sympathize and respect feelings of loss and give them time to adjust.
  • Call and visit as often as you can. Regular contact from friends and family will reassure your loved one that they’re still loved and cared for. Continue to include your loved one in family outings and events whenever possible. If your loved one lives far away, regular calls or emails can make a big difference.
  • Work through concerns together. While your loved one will likely go through a period of adjustment after moving into a senior living facility, don’t automatically assume that complaints are just part of the transition process. If your loved one has concerns, take them seriously. Talk about what steps you can take together to resolve the issue. And if the problem turns out to be a big one with no apparent solution, be prepared to look at other facilities.
  • Help your loved one personalize their living space. Help your loved one choose and bring over the meaningful possessions and decorations that will give the new living space the feeling of home. But be careful not to take over. Let your loved one take the lead. He or she is going to be the one living there, after all.

Suggestions for Friends and Relatives

Do:

  • If requested, help with the sorting, packing, and moving.
  • Listen as your loved one talks about what they left behind.
  • Be helpful even if you do not agree with the decision to move.
  • Recognize that moving to a new home represents a major change.
  • Call and visit often during the first few weeks.
  • Be positive. A smile, support, patience, and understanding are required.

Don’t:

  • Make all the decisions or take over the sorting, packing, and moving process.
  • Focus only on yourself. This is about the resident moving, not you!
  • Criticize the decision to move into senior living.
  • Make light of the transition.
  • Immediately talk about selling the resident’s house.
  • Make promises that you cannot keep.
  • Be negative.
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Calculator

As you weigh the costs associated with a senior living community, you may be surprised to learn that many older adults spend more money living alone in their own home by paying separately for a mortgage, rent, utilities, groceries, home care or transportation. This affordability calculator will show you just how affordable a senior living community can be. Simply plug in your expenses and let the calculator do the rest.

Affordability Calculator

Referral Partners

Often, family dynamics make it difficult for a loved one to make the move to a senior living community. So, when an elderly individual’s health begins to decline it may be up to you to introduce a healthier and safer living solution. Your role as a trusted family advisor can give them the assurance and understanding they need to make an informed decision.

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The 4 Pillars of Living Life on Purpose

Science has boiled down the key to successful aging to 4 “pillars” proven to have the biggest impact: Physical activity. Mental stimulation. Dining experiences that are nutritional and pleasurable. And, to be engaged both socially and spiritually. We call them the 4 Pillars of Living Life on Purpose. And, they’re the cornerstones of everything we do each day at New Perspective.

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