Watch as Susan Pinker, developmental psychologist and TED speaker discusses “the blue zone”, an area on the Italian island of Sardinia where there are six times as many centenarians as on the main land and ten times as many as North America. Why? Friendships and regular social interactions. The harm of being isolated is a real and present danger. The importance of human interactions is the most important factor in longevity. Watch below. If you’re curious how Commonwealth Senior Living is engaging residents in activities, social events and daily excursions, watch our Facebook pages for pictures of our programming, schedule a community experience or contact us with questions at AsktheExperts@commonwealthsl.com.
Earlier this year, Commonwealth Senior Living leadership teams met for our annual winter conference for continuing education, sharing best practices, and celebrating those individuals and communities who went above and beyond to listen, love, care, and serve our residents in 2019. We are incredibly proud of these associates who improve the lives of seniors, their families and each of us every day.
Patty Hinson was named Commonwealth Senior Living’s highest honor of Associate of the Year and was selected out of 2000+ caring associates. She has served the residents of Commonwealth Senior Living at Front Royal in the dining room and as a volunteer for the last 5 years. She truly loves our residents, comes in on her own time, and arrived to serve on Christmas morning “with bells on”. Thank you, Patty, for all that you do!
Jennifer Mayhew of Commonwealth Senior Living at Charlottesville was named Business Office Manager of the Year for her “eagerness to help others”. Amber Turner, our Regional Director of HR noted, “Jennifer managed a special payroll project, executed a huge amount of data entry from adding 10 new communities to the CSL Family, became a successful mentor, and was crucial in the development and implementation of developing the Business Office Manager training at the Center of Excellence. Also, in addition to all this she welcomed a baby girl in May.”
Frank Carlon of Commonwealth Senior Living at Chesterfield was named Maintenance Director of the Year. His passion for enhancing the look and feel of the building and his commitment to doing everything possible to help residents feel at home is evident to all. Thank you, Frank, for your work ethic and love of our residents.
Dining Service Director of the Year was awarded to Chef Andre Smith of Commonwealth Senior Living at Gloucester House. His commitment to creating delicious and healthy meals for our residents as well as his 26 appearances on Virginia This Morning have made him a culinary leader who we all look up to.
Program Professional of the Year was awarded to Linda Gill-Smith of Commonwealth Senior Living at South Boston who was described as perhaps “the most compassionate and engaging associate we have”. She was recognized for her passion and commitment to living our Core Values every day.
Three Resident Care Directors were recognized for the excellence in care. Sara Helsley of Front Royal who “gives her all at work while being a wonderful, single mother of three. She is strong, determined, and dedicated.” Her Executive Director, Amber Foster is quoted as saying “She continues to make me proud each and every day and I know the community is in good hands if she has anything at all to do with it. Having her by my side as the nurse in charge for the past 3 years has been challenging at times for us both, but we have learned and supported each other along the way.”
Carlette Dickerson of Farnham who “cares about people enough to be accessible and ready to go at all times. She does the right thing by always treating our associates and her peers with respect and dignity, even in the most trying of circumstances.”
Lila Hall of Abingdon “is a calm, caring force in the community who comes early and stays late despite a 1.5 commute to work each way”. Giovanni Montague-Sneed, SVP of Resident Care was quoted in saying, “Lila works tirelessly to do her best to treat all residents, their families, and their associates with respect, absorbing their worries and fears, and making sure they are happy to call her community home!”
Our CSL Sales Presidents Club inductees were chosen for their work as peer mentors who have in many times covered multiple communities and cumulatively welcomed 288 new families in our communities throughout 2019. Six Sales & Marketing Directors were honored as President’s Club inductees: Earnie Taylor, Robin Shrader, Kristi Massey, Stephanie Johnston, Stephanie Horrell, and Christy Puckett. SVP of Sales and Marketing, Kristy Ruppe Craddock was quoted as saying, “They are leaders, innovators, and mentors with humbling drive and unlike any other sales professionals I have worked with before. We are so fortunate to get to learn from these amazingly dedicated professionals each day ”
Sharon Jones, Executive Director of Commonwealth Senior Living at Chesterfield received our Evolution Award for persevering through diversity and spending “countless hours with families, community partners, and associates with the goal of improving the lives of seniors”. A member of Senior Leadership is quoted as saying, “While she is firm, she is also incredibly loving and sentimental. She is bold and fearless and leans into almost any challenge.”
Stephanie Horrell, Sales and Marketing Director at Commonwealth Senior Living at Chesterfield was recognized with our Rising Star Award for welcoming more seniors into our community than we have ever served before, and for lending help to sister communities. SVP of Sales and Marketing, Kristy Ruppe Craddock was quoted as saying, “We called upon her and she was willing accepted the charge to be a peer mentor and offered to support neighboring West End and Monument Avenue through transition and growth when absent an SMD. She fervently looks for ways to improve her craft, all the while holding steadfast to our Core Values and Noble Selling Purpose. She is studious and passionate. She doesn’t need or require the spotlight or the attention, but boy does she deserve it!”
A “natural and servant leader, unrelenting in his pursuit of excellence”, Reuben Canty, Executive Director of Commonwealth Senior Living at The West End was named Executive Director of the Year. A member of Senior Leadership is quoted as saying, “He is that leader that inspires me to stand a little taller, love a little harder and give more of myself to those I support.”
Commonwealth Senior Living at Chesterfield was named Community of the Year for always “feeling good and enjoying excellent management in all departments”.
Erika Gennari was recognized as Home Office Support Associate of the Year for her efforts in welcoming our 10 new communities while supporting the existing 22 in marketing strategy (advertising, PR, social media, and collateral). Kristy Ruppe Craddock, SVP was quoted as saying, “She does all of this with a passion for success and rock-solid commitment to our Core Values and Noble Selling Purpose. Erika is never the person to complain or demand authorship or recognition. What’s even more impressive, her positivity and eager spirit never falters. To best sum it up, she truly is the Oz of Sales & Marketing .”
Regional Support Associate of the Year was given to Ronda Duckworth, Regional Vice President of the Central region who is “always present, calm, and caring” in her guidance and coaching of community leaders. A member of Senior Leadership is quoted in saying, “Ronda is present and engaged with her team, with her counter parts and with any associate she encounters, she is present and in the moment. In fact, she is so astute and an expert level listener, any interaction with Ronda leaves you feeling as though your conversation and time with her is the singular most important thing in her orbit at the moment.”
You started your children’s college fund when they began kindergarten. You never missed a single Little League game (even when it rained). You walked your daughter down the aisle and choked up a bit, but it didn’t stop you from dancing at her reception. You may not dance as often as you once did, but you’re still the type of person who believes in doing the right thing. That means having your affairs in order.
You always made sure your loved ones had the very best and knew that you were there to support them. Now is the time to reassure them that you have prepared for your next step with choosing a senior living community. But how much should this cost?
The cost for senior living depends on the size suite you select as well as the amount of support you require. On average, this works out to be between $3500-$6000 per month. Families pay for senior living in a variety of ways. If you have invested in Long Term Care insurance, this is the time to reach out to your insurance provider and ask about qualifying for benefits. You will likely qualify should you need assistance with two activities for daily living. This would include bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, and getting in and out of bed.
This is also a time when it might make sense to sell the home and use part of the sale to pay for senior living. After all, it doesn’t make sense to continue paying taxes and insurance on a home that is not inhabited. There are also tax benefits to paying for senior living as well as bridge loans to cover payments for senior living while the house is on the market. Finally, if you served in the military during wartime or had a spouse who served, you may be eligible for Veterans Aid & Attendance. This benefit can extend up to $1790 per month for a veteran, $1150 per month for a surviving spouse, and $2120 per month for a couple depending on the level of care needed. This benefit combined with social security payments and savings often covers the cost of senior living.
Ultimately, the formula of how it is paid works out to be different for every family. But just like college planning, it is worth the time and effort to choose the right fit and craft a plan that makes sense for you. For more information about paying for senior living and to request a FREE cost comparison tool, reach out to the community nearest you.
When asked where they would like to live in their 80s and 90s, most Americans will say “at home”. There is an idyllic image of staying in a home where children have been raised, holidays have been celebrated, and memories have been made. Aren’t we all most comfortable at home? It is the place where we feel secure and safe. But as people are living longer, health complications may interfere with these plans. As we age, we may experience decreased stability, limited sight, and impaired dexterity, all of which may lead to falls, and ultimately, a dangerous living environment.
For seniors living alone, this problematic scenario may be even more difficult as feelings of isolation and depression set in. In fact, studies have shown that seniors experiencing loneliness are more at risk for heart disease, stroke, and even mild cognitive impairment. The fact of the matter is, as we live longer lives, we are more likely to need additional support.
Admitting that an eventual move into a senior living community might be in your future can be a challenging concept. It might feel uncomfortable to admit that you can longer manage your life at home. Senior living is a topic most families do not discuss until the need is an emergency and imminent. Oftentimes, the choice is made by an adult child because they can no longer care for their parent. Or a loved one is being discharged from a hospital and the family is told that they are no longer safe living at home. In many of these scenarios, the senior themselves does not have the opportunity to choose their community. This creates an incredibly difficult decision for the adult children. Is this what mom would want? Will she be happy here? Am I doing the right thing?
The stress and burden this creates for families is unnecessary. Just as we would prepare for the future with a medical directive and will so that family members are not making decisions about our lives for us, the choice of a senior living community can and should be made now so that we can be mentally, financially, and emotionally prepared to take that step when the time comes.
Call today for your complimentary copy of “Choosing the Right Assisted Living”. To find the community nearest you, visit our communities page.
It’s official. The holidays are over. The hustle and bustle of parties and presents and out of town guests have come to an end, and now is the time to get back to our regular routines. For many families, this means leaving loved ones who they spent time with over the break. And a new line of questioning may begin. Is Mom really safe living alone? Will she be able to keep up with the house? Should we start talking about senior living?
For many families with aging parents, the annual visit unveils issues that they weren’t aware of. This can stir up a lot of feelings. You may wonder, what is happening when we aren’t here? Is she safe? What should I do? The guilt that you aren’t able to care for a loved one yourself as well as the fear and sadness that they aren’t doing as well as you’d hoped can be staggering. But it’s best to start preparing a plan for a senior living community that you both would feel comfortable with now rather than being forced to make a choice once it is an emergency.
Here are some tips in discussing your concerns with your loved one:
- Remind Mom or Dad that you love them and are worried about their well-being.
- Ask what he/she would need to happen for them to decide it was time to move.
- Discuss his/her concerns about senior living and what he/she would like to see in a community.
This guide provides more direction on how to prepare for the conversation.
There are more options in senior living than there have even been. From high rise condominiums in major metropolitan areas to quiet villas in the country, there are simply more offerings and styles of living for seniors (as well as levels of care) than have ever existed before. It’s very important to know what options are available in order to choose the right fit when the time comes. Talking with loved ones about their options is the best first step to finding the lifestyle they deserve.
If you would like more personalized guidance on broaching this conversation, please reach out to a Sales and Marketing Director at one of our communities today.
Bringing a loved one with memory loss home for the holidays can be daunting. Our Vice President of Programs, Paula Harder talks through things to consider and some ways you can prepare for the day.
- Find out ahead of time what types of foods they will like and will be easy for them to eat.
- Have a quiet place prepared for your loved one to rest and take a break.
- Make sure to have a change of clothing for your loved one on hand just in case.
- Let the family know ahead of time any behaviors Mom or Dad are expressing so that it is not a surprise.
- If your loved one tends to wander, designate someone to keep an eye on him or her at all times.
Most of all, go with the flow. There might be some awkward moments, and that’s ok. The important thing to remember is that you’re getting time with your loved one during the holidays. Make the most of your time together. Celebrate little successes of a smile or a giggle. These are priceless.
Do you have a question for our experts? Email us at AskTheExperts@commonwealthsl.com.
The holidays are all about time spent with family. So how do we make that time work for each generation together if one of the grandparents is struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease?
Our memory care experts, Bernie Cavis and Paula Harder discuss in the video below.
Here are some quick tips:
- Focus a family tradition that everyone can participate in
- Keep the group small
- Remember that kids take social ques from adults. If you are acting comfortable with your loved one’s questions and behavior, they will too.
- Celebrate the success of the moment.
Do you have questions of your own for the experts? Email us at AskTheExperts@commonwealthsl.com.
As we count down the days to Christmas, many families are asking themselves, “Should we go visit Mom or Dad at their community or bring them home for the day?” Listen in as our experts, Bernie Cavis and Paula Harder discuss this topic.
Every family’s situation is different. It might help to yourself:
- Where would Mom or Dad feel most comfortable?
- How long can Mom or Dad be engaged before getting tired?
- What will the atmosphere in our house be like?
- Will I have a quiet place for Mom or Dad to rest?
For some families, celebrating the holidays at their parents’ assisted living or memory care neighborhood is a great fit. The staff is to help with their physical needs. There are celebrations, and this has most likely become the place that Mom or Dad feel most at home.
Have a question for the experts? Email us at AskTheExperts@commonwealthsl.com.
As we prepare for the holidays, we at Commonwealth Senior Living are thinking about families, those who we serve and those who we have not met yet. We know that this time of year can be challenging in many ways. It can bring a unique kind of stress for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss. We want to create a special, meaningful holiday for every generation involved, and that can be difficult for those whose memories and cognition are fading.
Our memory care experts, Bernie Cavis and Paula Harder answer questions about celebrating the holidays and creating a safe and loving environment for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Keep it simple- loud, busy parties may be overwhelming
- Focus on scents, textures and flavors- a family cookie recipe, the sweater she wore every year, Christmas carols he or she liked to sing
- Don’t ask your loved one if they remember certain things. This can be frustrating and saddening for someone struggling with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Remember that the time you have with your loved one is special. Take it moment by moment.
Next, we’ll talk about how to involve grandkids with your loved one around the holidays. Questions? Ask our experts at AskTheExperts@commonwealthsl.com.
Christmas can often be a lonesome time for seniors living alone. Families visiting their loved ones sometimes see signs that their Mom or Dad is no longer safe at home, but they worry about making that change during the holidays. Guilt about making a change during the holidays can delay the process, but in our experience, moving during this joyful time can lead to an easier transition. Listen in as Bernie Cavis, Regional Vice President and resident memory care expert talks through what she has seen over the last 25 years in senior living.
Questions to ask yourself when choosing the right time to move Mom or Dad:
- Is Mom or Dad safe at home?
- Are they taking their medications as directed?
- Has their been a fall?
- Do they require 24 care?
- Who will be looking after them after you leave?
- Do you have friends of family in town who can help make the move?
- What will delaying the move a few weeks mean in terms of care, logistics, etc?
- Do you feel you have the information you need to make a choice?
If you have questions about a specific scenario, contact us at AskTheExperts@commonwealthsl.com.