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What is the Aid and Attendance Benefit for Veterans?

When it comes to financing senior care, older adults are often unaware of how many financial options there are that can help. From life-settlement funds to bridge loans, there are a variety of programs designed to make it easier to finance senior care. One benefit that is often overlooked was created for veterans and their surviving spouses. It is the Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefit and is commonly referred to as the Aid and Attendance for Veterans Benefit.

What is the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit?

This benefit, managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides financial support to veterans to assist with the costs of long-term care. The purpose of this program is to ensure that veterans who served our nation receive the care they need.

Aid and Attendance support is available only to veterans and surviving spouses who meet eligibility requirements. In general, the veteran needs to have served at least 90 days of active-duty service with at least one day during a recognized period of war.

Because Aid & Attendance (A&A) is based on your income, medical expenses and assets, if you meet the military requirement, it is no longer a Yes or No benefit – it is If and When. Learn more about applying for this benefit below.

How much does the VA pay for Aid and Attendance?

The 2024 Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit rates are:

  • A Veteran may qualify for as much as $2,300 per month
  • A Married Veteran may qualify for as much as $2,727 per month
  • Surviving Spouses may qualify for as much as $1,478 per month
  • A Well Veteran with Ill Spouse may qualify for up to $1,806 per month

These amounts have historically increased by the same cost of living adjustments as social security.

Commonly Asked Questions about Aid and Attendance

Q: Is this benefit different from a monthly military pension for veterans?

A: Yes. This benefit is separate from and in addition to a monthly pension from a branch of the Military. This pension is from the VA and can be granted in addition to a Military pension. You cannot receive disability compensation or Death and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Pension with Aid and Attendance at the same time. If you qualify for both disability compensation or DIC and you also qualify for the Pension with Aid and Attendance, you can choose whichever is most advantageous for you. Surprisingly, the lower paying benefit is occasionally the better financial choice.

Q: How does a veteran or surviving spouse apply for this benefit? Can you apply in person?

A: Veterans or a surviving spouse can apply through their regional Veterans Affairs office. However, it is a complicated and time-consuming process and, similar to filing your taxes, you might want to work with a professional with expertise in the Pension with Aid and Attendance benefit. At Five Star Senior Living, we partner with Elder Resource Benefits Consulting to help our residents and future residents with consultation and guidance regarding the VA Aid & Attendance benefit.

To learn more about this benefit and to book your appointment for your free benefit analysis we invite you to contact Elder Resource Benefits Consulting at 833-822-9273 or 508-485-0039 or go to elderbenefitsconsulting.com and select the Book Now option on the home page.

Please have the following information ready before you call:

  • Monthly gross income from all sources
  • Estimated other annual income—interest, dividends, IRA contributions, capital gains, etc.
  • Monthly health and/or long-term care insurance premiums
  • Monthly projected residency fee
  • Understanding of applicant’s assets, including IRAs
  • The Veteran’s period of war

Five Star Affordability: Download our Cost of Senior Living Guide

We understand that senior living financing options can be confusing, so we created a resource to help. Download our FREE “Your Complete Guide to the Cost of Senior Living” eBook to get the answers you need. Learn about typical cost ranges, services offered and financing options, from Aid and Attendance to using bridge loans. We’ve also included how to contact a senior living counselor who can help answer any further questions.

Find out if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you or contact us to learn more.

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What is Caregiver Fatigue?

Caring for a loved one is a selfless act of love, kindness, and loyalty. As rewarding as it can be, caregiving can also be a challenging journey. Caregiver fatigue, also known as caregiver burnout, is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that occurs when you’re taking care of someone else. This is not regular tiredness, it’s a profound exhaustion that affects your physical, emotional, and mental well-being as a caregiver.

Caregiver fatigue doesn’t only affect family caregivers but professional caregivers as well. It’s important to remember that your health and well-being are vital to the health and well-being of the person you care for.

Recognizing caregiver fatigue is the first step toward addressing it. Understanding the timeline, symptoms, and prevention strategies can empower you as a caregiver to seek support you may need.

Caregiver Fatigue Timeline

Caregiver fatigue can increase a caregiver’s stress, especially when they’re caring for a spouse, living with the person who needs care, facing financial burdens, or caring for someone who needs constant care.

 

  1. Initial Commitment: In the beginning, caregiving is met with enthusiasm and a sense of responsibility.
  2. Mounting Challenges: As caregiving goes on, the physical and emotional demands can increase which may lead to stress and exhaustion. You may be spending vacation time caregiving or cutting down on personal hobbies or activities.
  3. Increasing responsibility: The needs of the cared for person can grow and can continue to affect the lifestyle of the caregiver.
  4. Acknowledging the strain: Once caregiving starts to affect your health and well-being it’s important to address it. You may feel burdened , worried, tired, sad, or not sleeping enough.
  5. Seek Support: Understanding you need help and seeking support can be a challenge. There are lots of options for caregivers and the person they’re caring for.
  6. Adjusting and Adapting: By seeking support, a caregiver can find balance between their life and the well-being of the person they’re caring for.

Caregiver Fatigue Symptoms

Caregiver fatigue can be a gradual process and manifest in various symptoms that can impact every aspect of a caregiver’s life. Recognizing these signs is crucial for seeking timely support and maintaining one’s health and well-being.

Emotional and Mental Symptoms:

  • Persistent Emotional Exhaustion: A feeling of being emotionally drained and depleted, which can persist even after rest.
  • Increased Irritability or Impatience: Minor irritations may provoke significant frustration or anger.
  • Feelings of Sadness or Depression: A pervasive sense of sadness, hopelessness, or episodes of depression.
  • Anxiety and Worry: Excessive concerns about the future or feeling overwhelmed by caregiving responsibilities.
  • Reduced Empathy: A notable decrease in feelings of empathy or compassion toward the person being cared for.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Chronic Fatigue: Feeling tired all the time, despite adequate sleep or rest.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Difficulties in falling or staying asleep, or conversely, sleeping too much.
  • Changed Appetite: Loss of appetite or resorting to comfort eating.
  • Physical Ailments: Increased susceptibility to colds, flu, or other infections; unexplained aches and pains.
  • Neglect of Personal Health: Ignoring one’s own health needs, skipping medical appointments, or not maintaining a regular exercise routine.

Behavioral and Social Symptoms:

  • Withdrawal from Social Activities: Isolating oneself from friends, family, and social gatherings.
  • Neglect of Personal Interests: Losing interest in hobbies or activities that were once enjoyable.
  • Changes in Job Performance: Decreased productivity or difficulties in maintaining professional responsibilities.
  • Substance Abuse: Increased reliance on substances like alcohol, prescription drugs, or caffeine to cope with stress.
  • Caretaker Burnout: In severe cases, a desire to abandon caregiving responsibilities altogether.

Recognizing these symptoms in oneself or in someone who is a caregiver is vital. It’s not just about identifying the signs but understanding the need for action. Five Star Senior Living offers various support options, including short-term stays. Our communities are designed to enrich the lives of both seniors and their caregivers, promoting an active lifestyle, socialization, and overall well-being. By acknowledging and addressing caregiver fatigue, caregivers can continue to provide supportive care while maintaining their own health and happiness.

How to Prevent Caregiver Fatigue

What about you? Do you suffer from caregiver fatigue? Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Adjust your expectations to prevent guilty feelings. Remember that no one person can do it all.
  • Don’t do it alone. Reach out to a therapist or other helping professional to take good care of yourself.
  • Use communication apps like CaringBridge and MyLifeLine to centralize updates on your loved one.
  • Check your town or city web site for no- or low-cost community resources, such as meals-on-wheels, to shorten your to-do list.
  • Find some time for you. Suggestion: Explore local respite care services to give yourself a regular break you can look forward to.

Five Star Senior Living is one of the nation’s leading providers of respite for seniors. With communities across 28 states, chances are there’s a respite program near you. Call us today at (617) 796-8387 or visit to learn more and schedule a virtual tour.

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Transportation Services for Seniors

Driving is often synonymous with independence. If you’re an older adult and you’re thinking of hanging up the car keys for good you may feel concerned about how you’ll get around town. Many older adults don’t want to be what they perceive as a burden to family members. Public transportation isn’t always available or senior-friendly in some areas of the country, and taxi cabs can be cost-prohibitive for frequent use.

Not knowing what alternative transportation options are available is one reason some seniors keep driving long after they begin to feel less confident behind the wheel.


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The good news is there are many transportation services for seniors that offer practical benefits. Because we understand how important it is for older adults to have solutions they feel confident in, we created this list of rideshare services and transportation providers. We hope it will give you some options to explore.

Rideshare and Transportation Options for Seniors

Uber for Seniors

Uber is one of the most popular ride sharing platforms for seniors. With a convenient and easy-to-use app, seniors can get where they need to go when they want. Programs like Uber Health, which allows senior centers to request, pay, and manage rides without having seniors sign up for the app, allow seniors the flexibility and ease of getting to doctor’s appointments, family gatherings, or shopping trips without any hassle.

Lyft for Seniors

The ride sharing app service Lyft has come up with some innovative programs to make it easier for older adults, including those without a smartphone, to access transportation. Whether it’s discounted rides for seniors going to the grocery store or free rides to polling booths during elections, Lyft is an option to explore with a senior loved one.

GoGoGrandparent

If you’re not tech savvy or don’t have a smartphone, this transportation coordination service can be a big help. It acts as a concierge between transportation options, such as Lyft and Uber, in the local area and seniors who need a ride.

Volunteer Transportation Programs

Many cities and counties have volunteer ride programs dedicated to safely transporting older adults. You can use this site to quickly locate programs near you.

Area Agency on Aging

Your local council on aging office is another option to explore. They often maintain a list of senior-friendly transportation services and volunteer transportation organizations. You can search the national agency’s database to find the contact information for the office that is closest to you.

iTNAmerica

Depending upon where in the country you live, you might find iTNAmerica to be helpful. They connect seniors with local transportation providers who will treat them with dignity and respect. That includes helping them with door through door service, not just dropping riders off or picking them up at the curb.

Transportation Services at Five Star Senior Living

Whether it’s time to get rid of your car or the finances of ridesharing don’t work for you, consider the transportation benefits of being a resident at a senior living community. At Five Star Senior Living communities across the country, residents can take advantage of our in-house transportation services. With friendly drivers who get to know you and favorably located communities, our transportation services for seniors can be used for physician appointments, outings to local malls and restaurants, scenic drives, and more. Find a community today and talk to one of our team members about your transportation needs.

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5 Ways Seniors Can Avoid Online Shopping Scams

So much of our lives is spent online. The convenience of online shopping has made it a ubiquitous part of many seniors’ lives for food, clothing, medication, and more. With that convenience, however, comes the lurking dangers of online scams that can prey on unsuspecting people. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, there were over 88,000 internet crime victims over the age of 60 in 2022 with an estimated $3.1 billion lost—an 84 percent increase from the previous year.

As internet shopping scams targeting seniors continue to increase it’s more important than ever to learn how to stay safe online. By following these strategies, you can protect your hard-earned money while enjoying the benefits of online shopping without becoming a victim.


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5 Safety Tips for Seniors Who Shop Online

1. Order Online From Retailers You Know and Trust

While many online retailers are safe and legitimate, others aren’t. Knowing which are safe and which to avoid can be challenging. One suggestion is to online shop directly from retailers that you enjoy shopping at in person. In addition to helping protect your identity and privacy, this approach also ensures the quality of the products you are ordering. Be aware of offers that might seem too good to be true. While many big retailers can offer great sales, be conscious of what you’re buying and where you’re buying it from.

2. Beware of the Links in Emails

Scammers have become quite sophisticated. Their emails can even look identical to those from popular stores and financial institutions. It’s often impossible to tell which are legitimate and which aren’t.

Beware of emails encouraging you to click on a link. It might ask you to update your account or say it’s time to change your password. If you click on the link, you are often taken to a website designed to steal your data and financial information. Instead, go directly to the company’s website or call them to validate the authenticity of any concerning messages you receive.

3. Check the Site’s Security

Another tip is to make sure a site’s web address begins with a tiny icon of a lock and includes “https.” That combination signals a site is secure. If you don’t see that lock or the “s” after “http,” the webpage may not be safe. Entering credit card information on a site like this can put you at risk for fraud or theft.

4. Use a Credit Card, Not a Debit Card

If you shop online using a debit card instead of a credit card, a thief can drain your checking or savings account before you realize anything is wrong. If the vendor you buy from isn’t legitimate, the credit card company will be able to protect you. While your bank probably can too, it usually takes longer. Money in your accounts might not be available while the matter is under investigation.

5. Monitor Monthly Statements

Lastly, review account charges and debits every month. The more often you review your accounts the better. Make sure the charges listed are for purchases you made and that you are credited for any returns.

What To Do if You Get Scammed Online Shopping

If you or someone you know becomes a victim of an online scam there are resources available. The Federal Trade Commission offers tips like reporting the crime to your bank, having the U.S. post office intercept a postal package, report an identity theft, and more.

At Five Star Senior Living, residents are protected with secure communities, skilled team members, and engaging programs that offer assistance on how to recognize online scams. Find a community near you today.

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How Senior Living Communities Can Help Kinless Seniors Thrive

Nearly one million older Americans are considered kinless, meaning they lack a spouse, partner, children, or siblings. Some seniors may wonder who will care for them as they age in the absence of a family support structure. Kinless seniors often have to explore alternative solutions to ensure their well-being as they age.


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According to The New York Times, several demographic factors have increased the number of kinless seniors, particularly baby boomers including: lower marriage rates, higher divorce rates, and less children.

The good news is that senior living communities such as Five Star Senior Living, a division of AlerisLife, offer a viable solution. Some of the benefits that kinless seniors may expect at a senior living community include participating in social activities, joining support groups, getting involved in volunteer work, and having the dedicated support of skilled team members.

AlerisLife chief wellness officer Melinda Skirvin, RN, BSN, MHA says it’s important to advocate for each resident. “It’s our job to fight when they can’t and be their family when they don’t have a family there,” she said.

Who Will Care for Kinless Seniors?

Senior living communities like Five Star that feature independent living, assisted living, and memory care lines of service can provide you with a supportive environment that lets you thrive.

  • Built-In Community: Senior living communities create a sense of belonging and community. You can build meaningful relationships with fellow residents to create a supportive social network and make new friends.
  • Transportation Support: If you are unable to drive, senior living communities typically offer transportation services, ensuring residents can access essential services and activities.
  • Nutritious Meals: Senior living communities can provide restaurant-style dining with nutritious and delicious meals, removing the burden of cooking and grocery shopping for kinless seniors.
  • Safety: Communities prioritize safety with features like emergency response systems, security, and on-site staff who are trained to assist in case of emergencies.
  • Health and Medication Support: Assisted living communities within senior living communities offer personalized health and medication support, ensuring residents receive the care they need.

Advantages of Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are great if you seek an active and maintenance-free lifestyle. Some benefits include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Building maintenance
  • Lawncare
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Fitness and wellness programs
  • Access to on-site dining options
  • Supportive staff and emergency response systems

Advantages of Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities provide an extra level of care beyond what an independent senior living community provides and can support for you if you require assistance with activities of daily living. Key benefits include:

  • Personalized care plans
  • Assistance with daily tasks
  • Medication management
  • 24/7 access to skilled team members
  • Engaging activities and events

Tour a Five Star Senior Living Community

At Five Star, no one is alone. If you, or a kinless senior you know, are seeking a supportive and enriching living environment , consider exploring the options available at Five Star Senior Living communities. We are dedicated to supporting kinless seniors as they thrive and become a part of our family. Find a local Five Star Senior Living community near you and discover more choice and more comfort.

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How To Do a Multigenerational Family Vacation

The holidays are a great time of year for an intergenerational family vacation. It gives everyone a time to strengthen bonds and build memories to last a lifetime. Whether you are planning a few days away or a long trip, you’ll want to make sure you consider the needs of everyone in the family.


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Tips for Planning a Successful Multigenerational Family Vacation

Planning a multigenerational family vacation for parents, grandparents, and kids can be both exciting and challenging. The bigger the family the more complicated it can feel to book your trip. With our valuable tips, we can ensure your vacation is a memorable and enjoyable experience for every member of your family.

Choosing the Right Destination

When you’re planning a vacation, choosing a destination that appeals to all age groups can be challenging—the kids want Disneyland, but the adults want an all-inclusive spa in the Caribbean. Consider places with a variety of activities and attractions that cater to both younger children and older adults. Look for destinations that offer a mix of relaxation and adventure, ensuring everyone has something to look forward to.

Accommodations are key

When traveling with multiple generations, finding a suitable place for everyone to rest their head is crucial. Research lodgings that provide enough space for you and your family. Make sure wherever you stay offers the right amenities. Consider options like vacation rentals, resorts with family suites, or interconnected rooms in hotels. Having common areas where the family can gather and spend quality time together is a plus. Seniors can also have a place to stay on vacation while they try out a senior living community with a respite stay.

Plan Flexible Itineraries

While having a planned itinerary is beneficial, it’s essential to leave room for flexibility. Different age groups might have varying energy levels and interests. Create a loose schedule that includes a mix of group activities and free time for individual pursuits. This approach ensures that everyone can participate without feeling overwhelmed.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Open communication among family members when planning your vacation. Encourage everyone to voice their preferences, concerns, and any special requirements they might have. This will help you tailor the vacation to accommodate everyone’s needs and expectations, making it more inclusive and enjoyable for all.

Embrace Quality Time

The primary goal of a multigenerational family vacation is to spend quality time together. Bond with family members by organizing special moments like family dinners, game nights, or storytelling sessions. These cherished interactions will leave everyone with heartwarming memories that last long after the vacation ends.

Be Mindful of Rest

Amidst the excitement of the vacation, remember that rest is essential for everyone. Schedule downtime for the adults to recharge and young children to nap. Balancing activities with ample rest ensures that everyone has the energy to hike, swim, and sightsee to their heart’s content.

Capture the Moments…and enjoy them too

Don’t forget to capture the special moments. Take plenty of photos and videos to document the vacation and the joy shared among generations. With that said, remember to fully take in the moment—whether you’re lounging on a beach chair, seeing the Great Wall of China, or trying a new food.

Take a staycation

If a holiday getaway just isn’t feasible, consider hosting a staycation instead. Put together a few games and activities the three generations of the family can enjoy together. Spending time together will make the holiday season more meaningful for everyone!

Embarking on a multigenerational family vacation is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen family bonds and create lifelong memories. The key is to create an experience that caters to the unique needs and interests of each family member, fostering connections and creating lasting memories.

So, start planning, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure that transcends age barriers and brings the whole family together. Happy travels!

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Father’s Day with Dad in Assisted Living

Are you celebrating Father’s Day with your dad at his assisted living community this year? No matter your father’s mobility level, there are Father’s Day activities for senior living residents that are sure to help him feel loved and celebrated. From day trips like museum tours and baseball games to planning a special Father’s Day celebration at the assisted living community, we’ve put together some ideas to help you make this Father’s Day one he’ll remember for years to come.

The Best Father’s Day Activities for Dads in Assisted Living

  • Decorate his room – if staying in at the assisted living community, can make it feel special having family decorate his space
  • Bring him his favorite food or a restaurant meal – if he can’t leave the property, bring him something he loves from his favorite place that he doesn’t get to go to
  • Make a scrapbook together – rather than bringing one to present to him, bring supplies and sit together as a family and look through pictures, reminisce and assemble the book together
  • Play family-friendly games – board games with the grandkids, lawn games if the weather is nice and celebrating outside, etc.
  • See what the team at the assisted living community might already have planned. Many assisted living communities, like Five Star Senior Living, offer special activities to celebrate the dads and grandfathers in residence on this special day. From movies to barbecues, games and karaoke contests, you may discover activities that every age can enjoy.

Put on a family talent show or singalong with the grandkids

A Father’s Day celebration doesn’t have to be elaborate or involve a road trip. Let the grandkids put on a skit or sing songs. The play can be as involved as they want, with costumes and set design, or can be as simple as the kids singing some of your dad’s favorite songs with help from your iTunes downloads.

Create personal Father’s Day tributes

You might also consider creating a slideshow video of favorite family moments – including past Father’s Day celebrations. With a laptop, a little bit of tech savvy, and an hour or two of free time, you can easily produce a video of favorite family photos. Set the slideshow to one of Dad’s favorite songs, whether he prefers golden oldies or classic rock, and let the images kick off an afternoon of reminiscing and storytelling.

If your dad is mobile and comfortable leaving the property, try these Father’s Day day trips for senior living residents:

1. Take Your Dad out to a ball game

Minor league ball games offer major fun for the whole family – at a fraction of the price of a major league baseball game. This allows you to share the special experience of a ball game with Dad without so much overwhelm and waiting in lines. To avoid the crowds, show up just after the first inning begins and leave before the bottom of the ninth.

2. Visit a museum

Is your Dad interested in military history? Airplanes? Natural science? Whatever his interests, he’s sure to love discussing them with you and his grandchildren. Take the whole family to a museum and listen as your Dad shares his own stories of years passed.

3. Go to the movies together

Don’t overlook a family movie outing. Whether a recent blockbuster or a classic movie from when your dad was younger, sharing the experience of watching a movie with family can provide an engaging and comfortable activity to share. If Dad would prefer to stay at the community for Father’s Day, find out what movies the assisted living community has coming up. You may not have to leave to view a family favorite classic. Just remember to ask if you should bring your own snacks or if the community is providing popcorn.

Additional tips for planning a safe and memorable Father’s Day in an assisted living community

Plan ahead for your father’s special needs

While your father might enjoy a short day trip, he may also get tired spending too much time outside, especially if your travels put you in the center of large crowds. Expect to spend no more than two or three hours away from home. You can always continue the celebration back at his assisted living community by enjoying a meal together or playing games in one of the common areas.

A Father’s Day celebration doesn’t have to be elaborate or involve a road trip. Let the grandkids put on a skit or sing songs. The play can be as involved as they want, with costumes and set design, or can be as simple as the kids singing some of your dad’s favorite songs with help from your iTunes downloads.

You might also consider creating a slideshow video of favorite family moments – including past Father’s Day celebrations. With a laptop, a little bit of tech savvy, and an hour or two of free time, you can easily produce a video of favorite family photos. Set the slideshow to one of Dad’s favorite songs, whether he prefers golden oldies or classic rock, and let the images kick off an afternoon of reminiscing and storytelling.

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How to Know if it’s Time to Move to a Retirement Community

Retirement is your reward after a lifetime of hard work and planning. It’s your time to have fun and pursue your passions both familiar and new, like writing that novel or spending an entire day as a couch potato watching movies. No matter what it is, you’ve earned it.

Some older adults always knew downsizing would be part of their retirement plan. For others, it took retiring to realize they would like a change of pace. Whether moving to a retirement community is a new idea or it’s always been part of your plans, it can be tricky to know what time is the right time to make such a major life decision. Let’s take a look at retirement living and how to decide when might be the right time to consider moving to a retirement community.

What is a retirement community?

The term retirement community is a broad one, but generally refers to senior living neighborhoods or housing complexes designed for older adults.

Retirement communities give older adults the option to spend their time doing what they love without the stress of the day-to-day chores, home maintenance or driving. There’s a wide range of communities to choose from, from 55+ communities and independent living to assisted living or memory care. No matter what kind of lifestyle you want, there’s a place just for you.

Signs it’s time to consider moving to a retirement community

Only you will know when it’s the right time to move to a retirement community, but there are some tell-tale signs to know when you might want to make the move.

You want to enjoy stress-free living

You’ve spent your life working, keeping your home clean and cooking meals. Now it’s time to reward yourself with the freedom to do what you love and have a retirement community handle the rest. Retirement communities offer in-house dining with customizable menus, housekeeping options and more to make sure nothing gets in the way of what makes you happy. Even planning what to do with your free time is easier with scheduled events, classes and entertainment.

Your friends and family have moved or passed away

Social circles can shrink for older adults due to reasons outside their control like family moving to a new area or friends passing away. If you find yourself wanting to move closer to family or forge new bonds with friends, it might be time to move to a retirement community. Retirement communities bring older adults together to enjoy each other’s company with a wide range of amenities to let you live life to the fullest.

Transportation has become a problem

If driving at night has become difficult or the thought of getting in the car to go to the grocery store is stressful, a retirement community might be right for you. Retirement communities are strategically located close to shops, services and other amenities for convenience. Plus, there are all kinds of transportation options available at retirement communities like buses, excursion vans and scheduled trips that bring you where you want to go. Moving to a retirement community also doesn’t mean you have to give up your car—plenty of retirement communities have parking lots or parking garages nearby.

You want to build strength after an injury

Building your strength back up after an injury, surgery or illness can be tough, but retirement communities can make it easier. Most retirement communities have a rehab and fitness partner who can help you in recovery. Five Star Senior Living communities partner with Ageility, a personalized rehab, fitness and wellness provider for older adults. You can try out a retirement community with a short-term stay and you may find you’d like to stay even longer.

Access to personal or nursing care is important Many retirement communities offer close and easy access to the care you need. Maybe you need some extra support throughout the day through personal care or you need daily nursing care. No matter your needs, you can find a community that will support you.

Find a retirement community near you

Remember that the right time to move to a retirement community is when you’re ready and moving to a community has never been more exciting, due to the abundance of options and amenities that are available. When you decide it’s time to consider moving to a retirement community, Five Star can help you find the right retirement community to enjoy this new stage of life exactly the way you want.

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7 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Seniors

Whether it was fixing you chicken noodle soup on sick days as a kid, being your biggest cheerleader at your college graduation or volunteering to take the grandkids for ice cream over the holidays, you’ve always been able to rely on your mom for love and support. You may appreciate it even more Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Seniors now as a mom, yourself. Figuring out what to give someone who’s given you so much, though, isn’t easy.

With Mother’s Day approaching, you might feel overwhelmed trying to pick out the perfect way to say thank you, especially if Mom is a senior and already has so much. Though it truly is the thought that counts, here are seven creative, thoughtful and easy Mother’s Day gift ideas for seniors from our Senior Gift Guide eBook to help you get inspired and show mom just how much she means to you this Mother’s Day.

1. Family photos

A photo of the family is a perfect senior gift idea that will be treasured for years to come. It’s versatile, too—for example, you can incorporate the photo into personalized gifts, like comfy throws, photo books, mugs or calendars with birthdays and special dates highlighted with family pictures. Visit your local CVS or Walgreens for options.

2. Crochet tools

Not only will you likely end up with a slew of handmade blankets and scarves, but the hobby provides a range of sensory stimulation for older adults. If they’re a beginner, a basket of crochet hooks, yarn and scissors, plus a handy guide, is a great start.

3. A group or partner fitness class

Working out is more fun with a friend or family member, so give the gift of fitness to both your loved one and yourself. Exercising together means more time spent together, and more accountability, too. Of course, not all fitness programs are ideal for older adults. Check out Ageility Rehab & Fitness, which offers individual, partner and group senior fitness programs specifically designed for older adults. Or find a fitness trainer who has experience with seniors.

4. Journal

Penning thoughts and experiences is a great way to keep the mind sharp, not to mention it leaves a legacy. Keep your family’s story alive for future generations with The Story of a Lifetime, a book that asks hundreds of questions about all of life’s great relationships, milestones and traditions. Also check out The Best Journal Ever, a daily positivity journal for happiness, wellness and self-care, or 642 Things to Write About, which offers prompts for writer’s block.

5. Homemade gift cards

Remember when your folks smiled as you presented them with cards you made as a kid? You know, the ones where you promised to do the dishes, mow the lawn and handle any other chores? Those handmade cards are a great Mother’s Day gift idea guaranteed to still make them smile today!

6. Birdfeeder

Birdwatching can have a positive effect on the mind and engage the brain. A birdfeeder can make a great Mother’s Day gift for seniors, and for an extra special touch, get a bird feeder that’s custom engraved. Then, hang it in an ideal spot where they can see from a window.

7. Tablet

A tablet computer will keep your loved one connected to you, allow them to follow the news and stories that matter to them, offer some fun games to play, and is a nifty way to listen to audio books. Plus, being a tech-savvy tablet user is the perfect way to stay in touch with the grandkids! Five Star Senior Living—Where Every Day is Like Mother’s Day

No one deserves a break more than moms. That’s why, in a Five Star Senior Living community, they can finally kick back, relax and let someone else take care of those pesky chores for a change. We handle those, along with providing transportation and dining so moms can spend more time doing the things they love with the people that matter most. Now that’s the Mother’s Day gift that keeps on giving!

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Coping with the Loss of a Spouse – 3 Ways Seniors Can Find Healing

Losing your life partner is heartbreaking. All those memories you made together—the sparks flying on your first date, wedding bells chiming as you both said “I do,” your children laughing as you chase them around the house…they aren’t as vibrant without your spouse there to share them with. As an older adult, coping with the grief of the death of a spouse can be even more difficult due to the decades you may have spent together. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can start to sink in—especially if you live alone—making it harder to find purpose and joy in the day to day.

The road to healing after the loss of a spouse is different for everyone, but nearly all are paved with the power of genuine human connections. Whether it’s attending a grief support group, leaning on family and friends or simply reaching out to your neighbor for help, a community of support is crucial to making it through the hard days, and celebrating the good ones. Engaging in activities where you can pursue your passions and find companionship can also bring newfound comfort, meaning and vibrancy to your life.

Grief never really goes away, but it doesn’t have to define your later years after the loss of a spouse. Here are three powerful ways to cope with the pain of losing a loved one and find healing so you can create new, joyful memories and live life to your fullest.

1. After the death of a spouse, take it one day at a time

Herculean task. Overwhelming feelings of sadness, shock and even guilt make it hard to get out of bed, let alone go about your “normal” day. The reality is life goes on even in our grief. Giving yourself time and space to mourn the loss of your spouse is crucial to the healing process. Still, there comes a time when each day—and your overall wellbeing—becomes what you make it.

Eating nutritious food, staying active and keeping busy with work or hobbies are some of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy routine. A routine can provide that reason to get out of bed each day, take care of yourself and move forward amidst your grief. Some days will feel like breakthroughs. Some will feel like steps back. Each is a part of the journey of healing and should be celebrated.

2. Find activities that provide meaning and purpose

Many of us find meaning and purpose in the life we share with a partner. Perhaps it’s in helping raise grandchildren, supporting charities you both cared about or catching the sunset every evening from your favorite park bench. After the loss of your spouse, though, these activities can feel empty and you may even feel guilty for continuing them without your loved one by your side. That’s why finding a healthy outlet for meaning and purpose is so important to the healing process. It could be reconnecting with one of your passions or discovering new ones that allow you to explore what brings you joy even without your partner there to share it with.

A great way to find activities that can provide that sense of purpose is by considering the Five Dimensions of Wellness that make up a healthy, fulfilling life. Here are a few ideas of activities for each dimension of wellness that can help you find an outlet for healing and meaning.

Five Dimensions of Wellness Activities
Physical Tai chi, walking club, pickleball
Intellectual Book clubs, trivia nights, lifelong learning programs
Social Volunteering, poker club, concert outings
Emotional Gardening, painting, creative writing
Spiritual Church services, journaling, meditation

3. Build a support system

Coping with the loss of a spouse can feel like something you should go through alone and not burden others with. It takes courage and vulnerability to ask for help when the grief and loneliness becomes overwhelming. Finding and building a support system of people—whether it be family, friends, or a grief support group—allows for a setting where you can feel more comfortable expressing your grief, lightening its heavy load.

It’s important when building a support system to find people you trust that can also speak to your experience, particularly for older adults. Tom, 90, found that support and companionship when he met Mary Lee after he moved into Calusa Harbour, a senior living community in Fort Myers, FL. Both had lost spouses and Tom was still in mourning. Mary Lee and others offered support and helped Tom find renewed purpose, joy and love—culminating in marrying Mary Lee and starting a whole new chapter of life. “Life isn’t over after you lose someone,” says Mary Lee. “You can live and love.”

Finding healing, purpose and support after the loss of a spouse at Five Star

At Five Star, a community of care and support is always there for life’s hardest moments. In our communities, neighbors become more than friends; they become family who know your pain on a deep level and can provide a shoulder to lean on when the burden of grief gets too heavy. Our innovative LifeStyle360 wellness program that incorporates the Five Dimensions of Wellness also offers a wide range of engaging activities to help you explore what gives you meaning and purpose. Contact us to learn more about how life at Five Star can help you through the healing process and provide a new home full of hope, joy and belonging at a Five Star community near you.

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