It’s hard enough—whether it’s by necessity or for convenience—to make a relocation decision for yourself or a loved one. Emotions run high. The need might be urgent. You searched for a nursing home, but aren’t sure what you found? The language of senior living can feel complicated.
And then you encounter the big question: What exactly are you looking for? Independent living or assisted living? A retirement home, nursing home, or senior apartments? Or is a CCRC what you need? (And what is a CCRC?) I see the term “Life Plan Community” used. Is that the same as a CCRC?
We can help sort this out, providing perspective on the language of senior living that helps you know what the service and care levels are—and feel more confident about your search, too.
For those 62 and older—or in some communities, 55+—independent living is a lifestyle setting that provides comfortable senior apartments or other kinds of residences in which seniors can pursue daily life as they wish. It’s the freedom to maintain your current lifestyle but enhanced by a host of services and amenities.
Independent living residents have few, if any, health conditions that limit their independence. By choosing a community over the continuing burdens of homeownership, they gain the benefits of the community’s programs, activities, dining, and social milieu. Independent living is not considered a level of care because residents don’t require care. But support and kindness are invariably found in abundance.
That’s why it’s common for new independent living residents to claim they wish they’d made the move sooner.
With a comfortable residence designed to help less-than-fully-independent seniors live as independently as possible, residents get a helping hand with daily life. You may hear about the ADLs, the Activities of Daily Living. Assisted living customizes care to a resident’s needs and how much assistance they need with the ADLs:
- Personal hygiene. Bathing/showering, grooming, and oral care.
- Dressing. Making appropriate clothing decisions; dressing and undressing.
- Maintaining continence. Using the restroom; hygiene.
- Transferring/Mobility. Being able to stand from a sitting position; getting in and out of bed; walking independently between locations.
A second set of actions—the IADLs, or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living—are functions that aren’t required daily but can also demonstrate the continuing or diminishing capabilities of a senior. IADLs are:
- Basic communication skills (includes phone and email).
- Transportation (driving, arranging rides, or using public transportation).
- Meal preparation.
- Managing medications.
- Managing personal finances.
An assisted living community will assess new residents’ abilities relative to all these daily living activities and create individualized plans for helping each resident succeed. You can also expect assisted living services to adapt to a wide range of health care needs that might change over time, from minor to more acute.
Sometimes known as skilled nursing, long-term skilled care, or a nursing home, the care setting is residential and staffed with RNs and a variety of other professionals. Long-term care provides for those who have a chronic illness.
In more recent times, the term “nursing home” has fallen out of favor. This is a reflection of how hospitality and activity programs are integrated with long-term care on campuses that include other levels of care—and often independent living, too.
Also called short-term rehabilitation or simply rehabilitation, these specialized therapies—speech, physical, and vocational—address the needs of those recovering after surgery, accident, or illness. Short-term care is often found within the long-term care setting, where suitable residences, medical professionals, and equipment are readily available.
Short-term care is often hard work for the resident/patient and is, therefore, made as comfortable as possible. The objective will be to speed up the recovery process while ensuring further rehab won’t be needed after discharge.
Short for Continuing Care Retirement Community, which has lately been simplified to “Life Plan” community, the CCRC is the flagship among senior living or retirement communities. In addition to independent living, a CCRC also offers a continuum of care services, which may include assisted living, a memory care program, long-term care, and short-term care.
Often, those who move into a CCRC’s independent living can have access to discounts on levels of care, making this an attractive plan for life —or “Life Plan.” Residents and their families know that if a resident ever needs care, it will be provided in a known setting by those who’ve already established their compassion and trustworthiness.
Some communities offer a contract that promises to deliver independent living residents any level of care needed for about the same rate as independent living. The rates for assisted living, memory care, and long-term care are usually higher when those care levels are entered directly. But with Life Care, independent living residents will pay less for those levels of care.
Terms That Misrepresent
You might also encounter such terms as elderly, frail, senior citizen, the aged, or retiree. You won’t hear these from us, however, because these are words that marginalize, and seniors routinely rate them poor choices for their age group. Their preferences—and ours—include “seniors,” “older adults” and “older people.”
Finally, you’ll sometimes hear “facility”—for example, assisted living facility or nursing facility. We don’t use “facility” because it’s institutional-sounding and, therefore, dehumanizing. We’re the opposite of dehumanizing. In fact, Beatitudes Campus and other senior living communities are, by vision, mission, and design, humanizing.
We Stand Behind Our Words
For generations, families in and beyond Phoenix have turned to Beatitudes Campus for senior living. The region’s first community of its kind, we are today a true Phoenix original. We’ve served the region longer, with more integrity and more success than any other senior living community.
Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of families find the right answers to their senior living questions and needs. When you’re searching, we can help you, too. Call us at (602) 883-1358 or contact us online.
The holidays at Beatitudes Campus are a magical time of year, especially traditional holiday celebrations. Twinkling lights create spectacular displays. Resident musicians play festive music. Carolers sing. Secret Santas leave gifts. The faithful attend special services. Residents lead charitable events to help those in need. And prior to the pandemic, residents and their guests would mix and mingle, dine, and dance at holiday and New Year’s Eve parties.
From November through early January, it’s truly a wonderful time of year at Beatitudes Campus. It’s all made possible by the hard work and dedication of residents and staff. The maintenance teams spend days trimming trees and decorating buildings with holiday décor and thousands of lights.
Traditionally, throughout the community, you’ll see residents spearheading dozens of special events, programs, and activities that celebrate joy and friendship, faith and generosity. You can jump in and help or simply pick your favorites and enjoy.
If you love a slice of chocolatey bûche de noël, caramel apple pie, or red velvet cake, why spend all day in the kitchen? The Campus restaurant culinary staff and pastry chefs create delicious and decadent holiday treats all season long.
Different But Just As Joyful In A Pandemic
While this year’s holiday season is definitely different and some traditional activities aren’t possible, the staff and residents at Beatitudes Campus are finding happy and safe ways to enjoy the holiday spirit.
“Everyone is pulling together to make this the safest possible celebration even though we cannot get together with our families and friends like we usually do,” said Beatitudes Campus resident Cynthia Cielle.
Instead of a big Christmas dinner held on campus, residents enjoyed a holiday meal delivered to their door. Live choirs and concerts, strolling carolers and musicians gave way to broadcasted performances. Instead of holiday parties, small but special moments brought smiles.
“This year, we’re doing little pop-ups like handing out hot cocoa as residents walk by and giving gift bags to those who live in assisted living and the health center. The staff created a Christmas parade with floats. We took videos to broadcast on the in-house TV channel. To keep everyone’s spirits lifted, the Spiritual Life department created a variety of programs held mostly on the closed-circuit TV channel,” continued Cielle.
Hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to get back to big, boisterous celebrations, beautiful choirs, and bustling volunteer efforts. In the meantime, most residents feel grateful that Beatitudes Campus is ensuring life goes on even in a pandemic.
Follow us on Facebook to discover how Beatitudes Campus sets a safe and festive backdrop for your spring, summer, and winter holiday traditions and to see more stories from our campus.
Let’s Talk About It!
Want to experience Beatitudes Campus for yourself, call us today at (602) 883-1358 or submit a form online.
Broaching the topic of your future care with adult children can be awkward and difficult for both parties. Each may feel a bit of denial about the realities of aging. For the elder loved one, it’s that they are no longer as independent as they’ve always been or considered themselves to be, and for the adult children, it’s that their parents still exist in their minds as strong, self-reliant figures, and this image is being turned on its head.
Here are some topics to touch on with your children when you decide it’s time to share your thoughts about your future care.
Educate your children on the reality of the current state of your health and what you know about the trajectory of your health in the near future. Perhaps you are still in good health but are planning for the future. However, if your health or independence has begun to decline, this may be a good time to share it, especially if it could be hereditary. It can be jarring to learn that a parent is no longer completely healthy, so make sure the conversation is open, answer any questions, and consider providing resources for your children to learn more.
If you have already made arrangements to move into a retirement community or even an assisted living community, tell your children about how and when you came to this decision. Keep in mind: They may be blindsided but also potentially pleased by aspects of the conversation, including the idea that they will not be your caretaker as they may have anticipated. Share informational materials about the community with them and let them know why you are excited about this place. This move could alter how you currently spend time with your family, so discuss how visiting will work now. Let them know that this decision will free the family up to focus on the most important things without having to worry about potential care needs. If you haven’t yet made solid plans, ask your children for their opinions and ideas about your future care.
Future Care Wishes:
This can be a hard conversation to have, but it is important to discuss end-of-life choices and other related official matters. Discuss long-term care, your will (if this applies), and how to handle medical decisions if it becomes pertinent. Again, this can be a delicate topic for adult children to discuss with their parents, so keep the conversation light and candid. Let them know that you are not discussing this because it is relevant at the current moment, but because it is relevant for your future as you plan out your aging process.
We want your family to be a part of the most important conversation; your future! Our team is happy to discuss with you and your loved ones the details of your plan for successful aging at Beatitudes and are happy to provide resources, such as brochures, pricing, services and amenities. We would be delighted to give your family a virtual tour of our campus and your potential new home.
To learn more about your vibrant senior living options at Beatitudes Campus, call us today at 602.883.1358 or contact us online at BeatitudesCampus.org.
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At Beatitudes Campus, we’re leading the way in memory care and support. But, it hasn’t always been that way. Like so many other places, we took a traditional medical approach focused on organizational goals rather than each individual’s routines and preferences.
That all changed in 1997 when a team of caregivers at Beatitudes Campus began a multi-year journey of researching and developing Comfort Matters®, an innovative, person-centered way of supporting those who have trouble thinking.
“Advocacy and social justice are fundamental principles of Beatitudes Campus because of our roots in the United Church of Christ. We started with those commitments and beliefs,” explained Tena Alonzo, Director of Education and Research and Director of Comfort Matters at Beatitudes during an interview with ACCESS Health International, a healthcare think tank and advisory group.
In working with health experts around the country, what they learned changed everything about how to support people with dementia.
“We discovered that we didn’t know much about taking care of people with dementia. It took time to develop the culture, policies, and procedures to become as radically person-centered as we are today. It was a labor of love for everyone.”
Taking A Holistic Approach That Respects Autonomy
Tena and her team, which included Karen Mitchell, Registered Nurse and Comfort Matters Educator, realized that engagement, autonomy, and choice bore huge benefits for individuals with dementia—as they do for all people.
“If we can help people sleep when they are tired, they can wake refreshed and more often be their best selves. If people can eat what they want when they want—day or night, they tend to be healthier, happier, and live longer. If they’re able to enjoy their favorite and familiar activities, they feel content and calm,” said Alonzo.
The team found that caregiving in such a holistic way dramatically reduces the number of medications, which in turn reduces side effects and helps people feel better overall. With Comfort Matters, individuals experience lower rates of incontinence, less sundowning, and decreased hospitalizations. The Beatitudes Campus staff is happier, too. Less employee turnover means more continuity of care and more familiar faces for residents—a win-win for everyone.
Truly Knowing Each Person
The concept of serving people in such a profound way that respects their personal attachments to routines and preferences and honors the individual and their life experience became the mission. To make it happen, the team upended and recreated the existing care model that had been ingrained in society for 100 years. They pressed forward, educating and collaborating with Beatitudes Campus management and staff, doctors, regulatory agencies, and families.
Today, the entire Beatitudes Campus staff is empowered to engage and provide comfort to residents. From housekeepers and maintenance crews to the nurses and everyday caregivers, every single person is encouraged to be innovators and share ideas so we can all meet residents where they are.
With families as our partners, we can be better caregivers and help guide and educate families through this time, according to Alonzo. Because we see dementia in a different way, everyone—families, staff, and other residents on campus—feel more empowered and less afraid.
Translating What We Learned Into A Dementia-Friendly Place To Live
Beatitudes Campus serves people with all levels of physical and cognitive ability. Some live in their own apartment or patio homes while others live in suites designed for skilled nursing care, memory support, or assisted living. Because we care and respect each other, you’ll find residents of all abilities laughing and enjoying time together—eating lunch, putting on the miniature green, tapping their toes to a musical performance, and more.
Hard work, unyielding devotion, and the willingness to innovate—that’s how Beatitudes Campus transformed into a dementia-friendly community, and why we’re different.
“Most residents have 65 or more years of life behind them. We honor that person because of their life experience,” said Alonzo. “We must have a culture that allows people to be themselves. That is the heart of person-directed living.”
Here, you can read more about Tena Alonzo and her team’s innovative approach to helping people live with dementia. To learn more about Beatitudes Campus’ extraordinary memory support options, call us today at (602) 833-1358 or submit a contact form on our website.
Throughout our lives, we’re teachers and learners. It doesn’t just stop when we reach a certain age. In fact, it often increases when we get older and have more free time. As we celebrate a new year, it’s exciting to think about the new opportunities that await us. Did you know that beyond increasing our knowledge, learning is actually good for our health?
Lifelong learning programs are growing all over the world, according to Pass It On, an international grassroots organization that promotes teaching and learning opportunities for older adults. In many countries, it’s common for older adults to attend classes alongside younger students. The topics range from the serious—law, politics, science, and technology—to the fun and entertaining—fashion, belly dancing, music, and art.
When it comes to lifelong learning, experts tout big benefits, from generating new neuron connections in your brain to a feeling of overall well-being.
Here are more benefits that come with lifelong learning:
- Better health – https://bit.ly/31obxhK
- Better memory – https://bbc.in/2OpuM5t
- Increased happiness – https://bit.ly/2UhNfEV
- Improved emotional balance – https://bit.ly/2OEh1Ab
Discover lifelong learning at Beatitudes Campus
As we live longer and healthier, enjoy access to enormous amounts of information, and have myriad ways to shape the world around us, older adults are taking charge of their learning. And, it’s happening right here at Beatitudes Campus.
With traditional education, peer-to-peer learning and new experiences, it’s easy to be a part of this important growing trend. Beatitudes offers guest speaker presentations, art classes, day trips, social and entertainment opportunities and more. The topics and venues continually change to give you a rich variety of easy in, easy out learning experiences.
Meanwhile, the Beatitudes Center for Lifelong Learners offers a structured academic program akin to a college environment. Entirely managed by residents, the program features nearly two-dozen non-credit courses each semester. There are no grades or tests. The relaxed classes foster an atmosphere of learning by encouraging discussion, exploration, and understanding.
In tandem with learning, Beatitudes Campus offers the chance to pass on what you know to others through teaching and mentoring opportunities—from leading a committee to participating in our own Design Studio (the campus residents’ “think tank”) to teaching a literature course and more. Our new Life Enrichment & Activities Guide highlights these and the many other options available here on campus.
If you’re as excited as we are about the new year and looking forward to sharing what you know and learning more as you go, we invite you to visit Beatitudes Campus. To schedule your visit or request a FREE Life Enrichment & Activities Guide, call us today at (602) 833-1358 or submit a form online. We look forward to hearing from you!
Have you heard the term life enrichment? It’s used quite a bit these days by parks and recreation departments, senior living communities, and colleges. While it may bring to mind a list of activities, life enrichment isn’t adding things to do to your calendar for the sake of being busy.
A well-created life enrichment program brings joy, meaning, and a sense of purpose and belonging. It indulges your curiosity and creativity and teaches you something new. Above all, it’s good for your health.
“A fully comprehensive life enrichment program in a retirement community hits all five dimensions of wellness—emotional, social, spiritual, physical and educational,” according to LeadingAge, a well-recognized, national trade organization focused on education, advocacy and applied research in senior living, to which Beatitudes Campus has belonged for more than 40 years.
Developing a great life enrichment program is a team effort, requiring the time, talents, experience, and expertise of many people. At Beatitudes Campus, our team is comprised of several life enrichment specialists, as well as staff from a variety of areas, including fitness, transportation, and our CARECorps volunteer program.
“Collectively, we spend hundreds of hours every year ensuring residents have an abundance of opportunities to socialize, take Lifelong Learners classes, volunteer, exercise, attend special events on and off-campus, and more,” explained Director of Life Enrichment Jon Schilling, who has been with Beatitudes Campus for 11 years.
The life enrichment team at Beatitudes Campus has built its success on being:
- Creative. While routines and familiarity are important, people need diversity. The team incorporates a variety of social, educational, spiritual and wellness opportunities.
- Organized. It takes a well-organized team to coordinate and plan dozens of complex programs. Everyone knows their role and is empowered to make decisions for the greater good of residents.
- Good Communicators. Whether it’s arranging a speaker presentation, creating a new fitness class or planning a holiday party, ongoing communication ensures that the many details are taken care of correctly and on time.
- Adaptable. Even the most organized group can experience issues related to equipment, venues, weather or resident health. The team is flexible in any situation.
- Collaborative. To promote the health and well-being of residents, the team understands residents’ interests as well as their strengths and limitations and chooses appropriate activities and programs. When needed, the Beatitudes’ life enrichment team collaborates with the resident, as well as their family and caregivers to ensure the best possible outcome.
Most importantly, the team follows the lead of residents.
While most senior living communities boast about their activities and amenities, only a few have a well-developed life enrichment program driven by residents themselves.
“At Beatitudes Campus, residents are integral to the process. In fact, they help manage and drive it. We listen to them, get their feedback and incorporate their ideas. Here, anyone can make an idea come to life,” said Schilling.
Before choosing a senior living community, be sure to check out its life enrichment program. Here are a few questions to consider:
- What’s on the calendar? Are there a wide variety of activities and programs? Would you enjoy participating in any of the options?
- Is their a life enrichment team dedicated to developing new and interesting programs? Who is on the team?
- Are residents encouraged to participate in the process, provide feedback, and help develop ideas?
“At Beatitudes Campus, our team works great together. We do our best to create an environment where there are no barriers to participating,” said Schilling. “Wherever you live at Beatitudes, we want you to feel welcome at each and every program.”