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Making the Decision to Move to Assisted Living

 

I see this situation frequently; an aging parent, living in his or her own home, relies on an adult child to provide increasing support to provide care and assistance.  The adult child can become overwhelmed as the loved one’s needs grow.  It happens gradually.  First the son or daughter is visiting once a week to help out; pretty soon they are fully responsible for shopping, lawn care, snow removal, bill paying, housecleaning, personal care and other tasks.  Before they know it, the son or daughter is in over their head trying to care for their parent while fulfilling many other responsibilities.  Often it gets overwhelming and usually it leads to burn out.

It is important for families to be able to reach out to resources and services in the community in order to get any as assistance that is available to help with the often daunting task of caring for their loved one.   The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) is an excellent source of information and help.  They can help navigate families to what resources and options are available in the community. 

One option that alleviates the strain on families and helps provide a more vibrant and safe living environment for the aging adult is moving to an assisted living community.  There they are provided with healthy meals, health monitoring, housekeeping services and personal care assistance.  In addition they will have many opportunities to engage in social activities and to meet new friends.

Although many seniors are reluctant to move because they don’t want to leave their home, once they make the decision, they are delighted with the peace of mind of having their needs met while enjoying the rich socialization that occurs in retirement communities.  Seniors should be encouraged to at least tour a few retirement communities to have some what of an understanding of what they have to offer.  A respite stay is often available so they can “try it out” for a few weeks.  Also, most retirement communities offer a month to month contract so if they decide it is not for them they can leave.

Most seniors LOVE living in retirement communities and they are very happy they finally made the decision to move.  The families are thrilled because now a visit with mom or dad means quality time instead of doing chores and they don’t have to worry about them being at home alone.

 If you need help convincing your parents to move reach out to the experts at the Aging and  Disability Resource Center.  Their counselors can help discuss options and the benefits of making a move.  Also, most retirement communities have a specific experienced person who can help answer questions and explore options.  That person is often able to discuss your specific situation with you and your parents in a very open way, helping everyone  to understand more about the benefits of moving to an assisted living community.   I am one of those people and would be glad to help in any way. 

Sara Fawcett

Community Relations Director

Appleton Retirement Community

 sfawcett@midwestseniorliving.net or 920-450-3350

What Feeling Do You Get?

 

I recently reread a review written by the son of a former resident.  The son commented that when he and his sister first came to tour,  as soon as they  pulled into the parking lot they got a very warm feeling despite the very chilly day.  He and his sister were looking for an assisted living community for their father who they felt would benefit from the services offered at Appleton Retirement Community.  At that point, they were not sure exactly what his care needs would be but they were very excited to experience Appleton Retirement Community. 

Years ago there was an older gentleman who led a Bible study at Appleton Retirement Community.  He often commented that every time he walked in the door he felt there was something special about our community.

Having worked at Appleton Retirement Community since 2001,  I feel at home whenever I enter the building.  I’m greeted by friendly residents and staff who feel like family. I’m privileged to with a staff whose goal is to passionately enrich the lives of seniors each and every day. I get to see behind the scenes that the management team makes decisions based on what is best for the residents and staff not based on financial goals. Putting people before money is not something we often see in today’s world but I believe it is what makes us unique and what makes so many residents and their families refer their friends and family members here. If that is not enough, we also are known for great food and excellent care. Not only do we constantly get comments on our cleanliness and active social activity schedule,  but we also do seasonal decorating to keep things interesting for all who live, work or visit here.

Whenever I am here I get a feeling unlike any other place I go.

What feeling do you get?  You can comment on this blog and tell us how you feel when you arrive at the Appleton Retirement Community.

A Time to Give Thanks

The year’s end is quickly approaching and we here at Appleton Retirement Community find ourselves with so much to be thankful for.  So many residents are thankful for the many wonderful friendships they have made.  Visitors, residents and staff are all thankful for the very nice canopy in the front of the building that will help us keep dry this winter as we come and go.  We are thankful for delicious meals our dining services department constantly provides us, the wonderful cleaning the housekeeping department provides, the amazing opportunities to socialize, go on outings, etc. the Life Enrichment department provides, the loving care our caregiving department provides, etc.  As we look ahead to next year we are already thankful for the new carpeting and artwork which will be in place early next year.

I recently ran into the daughter of one of our residents while I was out in the community.  I asked her if she remembered how difficult it was to get her mother to move into Appleton Retirement Community.  She recalled how her mother was so resistant that the kids had to insist that she come do a short term stay here while her roof was being redone.  We both reminisced how her mother’s stay was prolonged and prolonged until finally the adult children moved her own furniture in to her very own apartment here.  At first her mother expressed dislike that her children moved her in with out her really wanting to move in, however, with in a few weeks her mother was so happy—coming to all the activities and enjoying life.  This daughter shared with me that her mother is the happiest she has ever seen her in her entire life.  This family is thankful for an environment which has made their mother so happy.  We are so thankful for happy residents.

 

 

 

Men’s Group

Did you know that we have over 20 men residing at Appleton Retirement Community?  The number of men living at ARC has increased significantly in recent years and we continue to attract male residents.

Why more men?  It seems more men are moving into retirement communities all across the U.S.  Perhaps more men are realizing the attractiveness and convenience of retirement communities.  They may recognize the instant access to socialization, housekeeping, nutrition, wellness programs, etc. that retirement community living grants them. 

 In response to the growing number of men, we now offer a monthly Men’s Group.  The Men’s Group meets one afternoon a month in the lower level lounge.  The group is led by a male volunteer who enjoys engaging men in conversation about things men find interesting.

 In the past we’ve always provided opportunities for the men to get together and get to know one another.  We’ve hosted Men’s Breakfasts out at local restaurants, Men’s BBQ’s, and various other Men’s gatherings. 

 What seems to be popular about the recently started Men’s Group is that the leader is male and he comes up with some suggested discussion topics and the men decide what they want to discuss.

 This opportunity is great for our men as they have had many similar and unique experiences.  Some of the topics the men discuss include:  experiences in the service (many wartime), hobbies, careers, travel and any other topics the men desire to discuss.

 We are only two months in to the Men’s Group so watch for future updates on how the group develops!

Exercise Designed for Seniors

According to Wikipedia, physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.  Most people are aware that exercise can increase one’s overall health, lower their blood pressure, increase circulation, increase mobility, strength, endurance, etc. but how many people think about how exercise can improve one’s mood or overall mental health?

 Monday through Friday at Appleton Retirement Community many residents participate in a chair exercise class called “Sit and Be Fit.”  The class takes place mornings in the second floor lounge.

 Residents report that they do notice a big difference in how they feel as a result of participating in the exercise class.  They also shared that they hate to miss even one class.  This is the likely explanation as to why the class has grown from 7 or 8 participants to now sometimes 30.  The popularity has soared over the years.  Changes in the program have been made to accommodate the growing number of participants. 

The program always allows for participants to remain seated the entire time.  In addition to doing exercises that involve raising legs and arms, residents exercise their face muscles, hands, fingers and even participate in laughter exercises.  The classes last about 30 minutes and all movements can be altered with options for those who need them.

 Everyone, no matter their abilities or lack of abilities will find a way to participate in the “Sit and Be Fit” program offered at Appleton Retirement Community.  Residents are friendly and will help each other.  The group sits in a circle so that all can see the leader and follow along.  For those who can’t see well, the leader does explain the movements.

 

 

 

Don’t Wait until It is Too Late

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with many wonderful prospective residents and their families.  I met some of them just a few weeks or even days before they or their loved one became a resident at Appleton Retirement Community.  Others I met months or years before they or their loved one  joined the Appleton Retirement Community family.

Many of the families I’ve worked with felt right at home when they walked in the front door of our community.  As they looked around, they saw happy, smiling residents who felt safe and secure and whose lives were enriched daily.  They knew this was not just a retirement community that provided independent and assisted living for seniors but that this was HOME.

At times I’ve met seniors or, their adult children, who were so nervous about the idea of making a move into Independent or Assisted Living that they could not see past the fear.  In fact, many times, I saw people let fear immobilize them.  Prospective residents decided they would wait it out in the current living situation until a big health event would trigger the necessity to make a move.

Whenever I have to tell a family or potential resident that they do not qualify to live here, it’s very difficult.  In many cases these people don’t even realize that the possibility exists that they would not qualify to live here.

So many people are not informed that in order to live in a Residential Care Apartment Complex (RCAC) one must be of sound mind and NOT have an ACTIVATED Power of Attorney for Health Care which has deemed them incompetent to make health care decisions.  The RCAC license requires that we admit only those who are able to sign their own paperwork upon move-in (even if that signature is just an “x”) showing they are coming in and of their own volition.  The one exception to this is that the person who is not able to make their own decisions anymore would be moving in to our community along with their Power of Attorney for Health Care or Legal Guardian who could sign their papers for them.

I encourage people to choose now to make a move while they can enjoy the activities, fellowship and delicious meals here to the fullest extent.  Don’t wait until it is too late—you may miss out on what many have claimed were the best years of their life.

 

2012 Off to a Great Start

Life at Appleton Retirement Community is anything but dull.  Last year was no exception and 2012 is already off to a great start!  Last year we saw several different improvement projects reach completion.

 Our first major project in 2011 was the installment of a new restroom on the second floor.  The completion of the project created convenient access to a restroom for all enjoying activities and special events in the second floor lounge.  The large space allows for plenty of room to accommodate any adaptive devices that residents, visitors or guests might use.

 In August of 2011 our construction project to add a canopy to the front of our main  entrance was completed.  The new canopy is more than large enough for two cars to drive under at the same time.  The canopy  provides protection from any form of precipitation or wind and has added to the beauty of the community.  Beautiful wrought iron gates and brick pillars now line each side of the entrance into the parking lot.  A new building sign was erected on the corner of Packard and Superior Streets.

Minor alterations occurred in regard to our long screened-in porch and new landscaping outside of the porch includes a snow blossom tree that we are eager to watch grow.

 Later in 2012 we added a bus driver to our Life Enrichment department staff.  Having our own driver allows us to provide even more opportunities for trips  into the community and at the same time more activities are available on site for those not going out on the bus.

 We are already having fun in 2012.  On January 18th we had our annual Penguin Party.  A fun time was had by all as residents and guests were entertained by Norm Powers, one of our favorite musicians.  Prizes were given for the best black and white outfit.

 We look forward to many more fun parties, outing and activities this year.  Watch our event calendar for fun times ahead.