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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.

There are other eligibility requirements for the Aid and Attendance benefit for veterans that must also be met:

  • Age or disability: To receive this pension, a veteran must be at least 65-years-old or be totally and permanently disabled. Seniors who receive home care, live in a senior living community or receive skilled nursing care may be eligible, as can veterans who are receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).
  • Physical condition: The veteran and/or their surviving spouse must also meet one of these conditions to be eligible:
    • Need regular, although not full time, supervision due to a physical, cognitive, mental or developmental condition OR
    • Require the aid of another person to perform 2 activities of everyday living tasks (e.g., dressing, bathing, feeding, toileting)

How much does the VA pay for Aid and Attendance?

The 2023 Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit rates are:

  • A single Veteran may qualify for as much as $2,229 per month
  • A Veteran with a spouse may qualify for as much as $2,642 per month
  • A surviving spouse may qualify for as much as $1,432 per month
  • Two Veterans who are married may qualify for up to $3,536 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 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

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 community near you or contact us to learn more.

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How to Stay Active – 7 Tips for Seniors

Maintaining an active lifestyle is important at any age, but it can be especially important for older adults and seniors in retirement to help boost health and wellbeing. Staying active has scores of health benefits, from strengthening bone health and improving blood pressure to lowering the risk of diabetes and supporting neurocognitive function.
It’s vital to keep moving as you age, and it’s not uncommon for older adults to lose their strength and balance which unfortunately can result in falls. In fact, 1 in 4 older adults report falling every year. For some seniors, healing from an injury can take longer. A sedentary lifestyle without regular exercise and active movement can lead to more frequent falls, injuries, and pains.

But don’t think you have to hit the gym weights everyday. While focused physical exercise is a great way to stay active, it’s not the only way to have an active senior lifestyle. Many senior living communities offer fun activities throughout the week that are catered to your abilities to keep you living your best life.

Here are seven great tips that will inspire you to maintain a healthy and active senior lifestyle:

7 Ways to Maintain an Active Senior Lifestyle


Exercise classes/groups

What better way to lead an active retirement than to break a sweat? Many senior-living communities offer a plethora of exercise and fitness classes like tai chi, weight training, and walking groups. At Five Star, we partner with Ageility, an AlerisLife operating division that focuses on rehab and fitness classes for older adults. Classes and groups are often on a set schedule. Communities make signing up a breeze so you can get to work and even meet some new friends.


Put that green thumb to work by digging into the joys of gardening. Spending time tending to homegrown fruits and vegetables is a perfect way to not only get you off the couch, but also outside. Gardening is also easy to weave into any routine, as plants usually only need to be tended to once in the morning and once in the evening. Many senior living communities offer garden clubs or resident gardens where you can get started. Zucchini, lettuce, and tomatoes are a few great options for beginning gardeners. Herbs like chives, oregano, parsley are also great options and can be grown inside with ease!


As one of the best exercises out there, swimming is an excellent exercise for active older adults. The resistance of the water makes you use your whole body, keeps your heart rate up, and helps build endurance. There are a lot of Five Star communities that have swimming pools inside the community grounds, but if there isn’t one, be sure to ask your community’s team members if there are recreation centers nearby that you could use.

Senior Clubs

Staying active in retirement isn’t all about weight lifting and cardio. Senior living communities like Five Star have many activities including clubs, which are a great way to have fun both on and off your feet. Channel your inner thespian with theater groups or lead great discussions at book clubs. There’s also social clubs like men or women’s clubs, tea time, and game clubs. Each community offers different activities, but you’re guaranteed to find a club that you’ll look forward to attending.

Classes for older adults

If you love to learn, signing up for a class offered at your senior living community is a great way to stay active. Classes can range from poetry writing and charcoal sketching to learning a new language and dancing. With set times each week, classes can be a great workout for your mind, body, and soul. Check out your community’s monthly activities calendar to see what classes are available or ask your Lifestyle 360 director for more information.

Playing video games

You read that right. Believe it or not, with systems like the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo Switch, you can go bowling with a friend, compete in olympic style games, and dance to music all at your own pace. Many communities come equipped with gaming systems that are easy to use and make for hours of fun. The best part is you can set your own schedule because staying active with video games is as easy as pressing on the power button.

Getting a pet

It would be hard to list all the benefits of having a pet, but let’s just say there’s quite a few! Having a pet keeps you active as you nurture and care for your four-legged friend. Most Five Star communities are pet friendly so you can enjoy your pet, as well as your friend’s pets. Having a pet like a dog can give you a great reason to get up and go for a refreshing walk in the morning to start your day.

Join Other Active Seniors at Five Star

When it comes to active senior living, Five Star communities have you covered. Every Five Star community has a Lifestyle360 director and a robust activities calendar that offers new and regular programs, events, and activities each month. Be sure to check out your community’s calendar or join the resident council to voice your thoughts on what the calendar should include.

Take Steps Toward an Active Retirement Today

AlerisLife and Five Star communities believe a person’s quality of life is ageless. At Five Star communities, we offer a wide range of senior living options built with a high level of service and sense of community. Contact us to find a senior living community near you.

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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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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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4 Huge Benefits of Selling Your Home to Pay for Senior Living

Home is where the heart is, and that makes the decision to sell your home not just a difficult—but also emotional—one. Homes are full of memories of laughing children, Thanksgiving dinners, late nights chatting on the porch…the list goes on. Yet, there comes a time when home is quieter and lonelier than before, particularly for older adults. Many seniors live by themselves after the loss of a loved one. Aging in place can also become expensive with upkeep costs for maintenance, taxes and utilities, not to mention the cost to renovate so your home is safe for your changing needs. After a while, what was once a place of joy can start to feel like a burden.

This is when selling your home to pay for senior living could help you combat loneliness and give you the freedom to live life to the fullest. Losing what’s familiar is never easy, but moving into a senior living community doesn’t mean you have to give up your hard-earned independence. In fact, it opens a whole world of stress-free living full of joy, purpose and companionship. And that’s just one of the huge advantages of selling your home to pay for senior living. Here are a few other big ways you can benefit from selling your home and moving to a senior living community.

Hot housing market = more money in your pocket for an active senior lifestyle

It’s no secret that the housing market is booming. According to the National Association of Realtors, home prices are up 15.8% on average year-over-year across the country as the demand for new homes continues to far outpace supply. Still, you might be wondering, should I hang onto my home as prices rise, or have they peaked? The important thing to remember is that it’s impossible to predict the top of the real estate market and playing the waiting game could backfire. With home prices already at record highs, selling now means you’ll likely come out ahead with a hefty sum that will make senior living far more affordable.

Lock in equity now to pay for future senior living needs

The future is hard to predict, especially when it comes to your home’s value and your health. Delaying a decision to sell leaves open the risk of both taking a turn for the worse. However, if you do your homework now, you can determine based on your current home value whether it can pay for some or all the costs of senior living. Consider the money like stock. Unless you’re selling, the increase in market value isn’t money in the bank. Only if you sell can you plan on how to leverage those dollars.

No more mortgage bills and home maintenance

You’ve worked hard to reach your retirement years and finally relax. There’s just one problem. Your home won’t let you. Cleaning, cooking, running errands…keeping up with it all your at-home to-do lists can feel like its own 9-5. If you don’t own your home outright, there’s also a pesky mortgage payment that keeps chipping away at your savings for that cruise you always dreamed of. By selling your home, you can knock out your to-do lists and mortgage payments all at once and never have to worry about them again. That means more time—and money—for doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

Experience stress-free senior living

As attached as we get to the space we live in, it’s easy to forget that home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. It’s the comfort of being part of a close-knit community, the joy of waking up with a sense of purpose each morning and the peace in knowing you’re right where you’re supposed to be. That’s why so many seniors refer to their senior living communities as “neighborhoods” where they’ve found their “home sweet home.” Without the burden of owning a home weighing them down, residents enjoy the freedom to live life on their own terms and explore an exciting new chapter full of rediscovered passions and companionship. The best part? The money you make selling your home doesn’t just cover your rent in a senior living community. It also includes other big home expenses like meals, housekeeping and utilities. It’s like having all the comforts of home—plus a whole lot more—without all the hassle.

Five Star Senior Living — welcome home

Everyone deserves a home where they feel cared for and treated like family. That sentiment is at the core of Five Star’s mission to help every senior find their new “home sweet home” in communities across 27 states. With living options that include independent living, assisted living and memory care, Five Star is able to deliver award-winning hospitality, innovative programming and signature health services that meet your specific needs and preferences. To learn more about how selling your current home can help cover the cost of senior living at Five Star, call one of our senior care experts at (757) 797-6866 or complete the form below.

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Never too Late to Date: Senior Couples Share Their Top Dating Advice and Tips for Older Adults

Some things never change as we get older. Take dating, for instance. Whether it was asking your crush to the homecoming dance in high school or inviting a new neighbor to dinner as an older adult, igniting that romantic spark is intimidating, no matter your age. It can also feel later in life like dating is a young person’s game and you’re past the point of starting a new relationship.

The truth is romance doesn’t have an age limit. Just ask these four couples who met as seniors—Henry and Joyce, Mary and Dick, Mary and Tom, and Jodi and Myrna—who found joy, love and a new beginning with their partners. There’s no better time than the present to tell that special someone in your life how much they mean to you, and maybe start a new romantic adventure of your own. That’s why we asked our featured senior couples for their best senior dating advice. Here you’ll find their four top senior dating tips to remember that can help you take that first step and build a loving bond that endures.

Senior Dating Tip #1: Join in activities

Few things are as key to forming a romantic connection as being in the right place, at the right time. Take it from Henry, 86, and Joyce, 85, residents of The Forum at the Woodlands, who met on the bus on the way to go walking at the mall. The pair struck up a conversation that quickly evolved into sitting together at Woodlands concerts, dancing together every Friday and eventually moving in together. The most important thing, they said, was putting themselves out there and participating in the many activities available to them.

“It’s much easier than dating as a young person because we had activities that brought us together; we didn’t have to create something,” says Joyce. “The best thing to do is to get involved, go to the socials and be open to meeting other people.”

Senior Dating Tip #2: Open your heart to something new

Mary Lee and TomA sad truth of dating as an older adult is that many single seniors may be widows who have lost a wife/husband dear to them. When Mary Lee, 90, met Tom, 90, after he moved into Calusa Harbour, she was interested in him romantically but could see that he was still mourning his wife whom he’d recently lost. She knew the feeling all too well after losing three husbands of her own. Yet, once the two shared a hamburger, started attending church together and shared a first kiss—“I was walking on clouds and bumping into everything after,” says Tom—they realized that they could care for each other in their grief while also starting a beautiful new life together.

“Most everyone has lost someone,” says Mary Lee. “You can’t try to replace somebody; you just look for someone you fall in love with. You’ll find somebody but not necessarily like someone you had.”

Senior Dating Tip #3: Maintain independence

Mary and DickBoth Mary, 85, and Dick, 80, weren’t exactly looking for a mate when they moved into The Forum at Brookside. Mary just wanted a companion to join her on morning walks. Their first walk together was on Dick’s birthday after he became a Brookside resident, and “we’ve been together ever since,” says Mary. Now, the pair are practically inseparable and when not together people often ask where the other is. Yet there’s one thing they don’t budge on: separate apartments. That’s because, both agree, one of the secrets to healthy senior relationship is letting the other have their own space and independence.

“It’s nice that we have our own villa so we can spend some time away to take care of personal tasks,” says Dick. “I’m the king of my castle and she’s the queen of her castle!”

Senior Dating Tip #4: Take a risk and enjoy every moment

Jodi and MyrnaJodi and Myrna, both 77-year-old residents of The Forum at Town Center, have shared experiences in their 25 years together many of us simply dream of. They’ve been hiking in New Zealand, taken a Niagara Falls boat tour and even lived in an RV traveling across the U.S. for 14 years. That’s because ever since Jodi, a former minister, took a chance to ask Myrna, a new congregant at her church, out to dinner, the pair have shared the same philosophy of making every moment together an adventure. Both also have an understanding that at their age, you don’t grow together to start a family, leaving more time to concentrate on each other. The first step into the unknown of senior dating is the hardest part, they say, but the “wonderful road ahead” awaits for those who take the risk.
“As seniors, we don’t know how much time we have left,” says Jodi. “Don’t waste it being unhappy not having someone in your life. We all need human companionship. If there is someone in your life you think would make a great companion, go for it!”

Finding community and companionship at Five Star

There’s certainly no shortage of stories of new couples and friends that met in a Five Star Senior Living community. Every day at one of our communities across the U.S. brings more opportunities for connection from fun and diverse activities to a stress-free, independent lifestyle that allows more time for the things—and people—that matter most. Take it from Henry and Joyce: “Life isn’t over after 90, you can live and love.” Contact one of our senior living experts or find a Five Star community near you to learn more and start your next chapter of life—and possibly love—with us.

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What are ADLs and IADLs and What’s the Difference?

A big source of pride for many folks is being able to take care of themselves without assistance. Whether it’s home upkeep, managing medications or personal hygiene, being able to do these tasks independently can be very fulfilling. Yet, as we age and our bodies aren’t able to function like they used to, many of these once routine tasks can become more and more challenging. Knowing when additional help is required—and how much of it you need—can also be difficult. That’s where Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) come in.

ADLs and IADLs are both services offered by senior living communities that help residents—particularly those in assisted living—stay independent for longer. Though they have nearly identical names, ADLs and IADLs have key differences in the services they include that together form a holistic level of care. Here’s what you should know about both terms so you can determine how much extra care you or your loved one needs to maintain independence.

What are Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs?

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are routine tasks most people are able to perform on a daily basis without assistance. Most senior living providers and health professionals group ADLs into the following categories:

Common Categories of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)


Being able to dress and undress, choose appropriate clothing for the weather and have the dexterity to manage buttons, zippers and other fasteners.


The ability to feed oneself (not including cooking).

Bathing or Showering

This includes grooming activities such as shaving and brushing teeth and hair.


Being able to control bowels and bladder or to manage incontinence independently.


The ability to use the toilet and get to the toilet independently.


This refers to functional mobility. For most people, functional mobility is being able to walk, get in and out of bed, and into and out of a chair. If the person is not ambulatory, they should be able to transfer from bed to wheelchair on their own.

What are Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, or IADLs, and how are IADLs different from ADLs?

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are more complex tasks that often build on basic ADLs, but require a certain amount of physical dexterity, sound judgment and organizational skills. IADLs are not essential functions of living like ADLs, though they are key to being able to live independently. Instrumental activities of daily living typically include the following:

Common Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

Managing finances

Paying bills and managing financial assets.

Managing transportation

Either by driving, using public transportation or by organizing other means of transport.

Shopping and meal preparation

Grocery shopping, cooking and any other activity required to prepare your own meals.

Housecleaning and home maintenance

Keeping one’s living space reasonably clean and tidy and overall maintaining of the home.

Managing communication

Using the telephone and managing mail.

Managing medications

Obtaining medications and taking them as directed.

How do I know if and which ADLs and IADLs are needed?

The signs that it’s time to consider help with ADLs and IADLs can take a while to appear and be difficult to spot. It’s common to need a little more assistance with our day-to-day as we get older and we’re not as spry as we used to be. That’s why one of the best ways to evaluate the need for ADLs and IADLs is through a functional assessment performed by a doctor, rehabilitation provider or senior living specialist.

Difficulty managing instrumental activities of daily living is often an early indicator of other health problems. This assessment can help seniors determine what kind of assistance is needed on a day-to-day basis. An inability to perform two or three activities in a functional assessment is often a sign that one would benefit from outside help, or by considering moving to an assisted living community where ADL and IADL services are available.

Five Star Care: All the services you need, when you need them

In our Five Star Senior Living communities, no two residents are alike, so we personalize our level of care to fit your needs. That includes any help with ADLs and/or IADLs that you or your loved one needs to embrace and enjoy their best life and live stress-free. Call one of our senior care experts at (757) 797-6866 or complete the form below to find a Five Star community near you.

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Words of Wisdom from Six Inspiring Seniors for 2022 and Beyond

It’s been a difficult and unpredictable year, to say the least. Many of us have experienced pain and loss due to the pandemic that continues to upend life as we know it. Thankfully, history shows us that there is light ahead even in the darkest of times. Just ask a senior. Here’s some sage advice from six inspiring older adults who know a thing or two about struggle. Each has been through rough patches of life, only to emerge as strong on the other side. We hope these words of wisdom offer encouragement and hope for a bright, joyous new year.

William Stewart: From private eye to a shoulder to lean on

William (Bill) Stewart’s life started out rockier than most. Adopted at birth and raised by his grandparents during the Great Depression, he went on to have six children with his wife before she passed at the age of 51. His career spanned many areas of law enforcement and criminal justice from service as an NYPD detective to becoming a licensed private investigator. He also served his country for 30 years through the U.S. Air Force and Military Police, retiring at the rank of Lt. Colonel. He has adjusted to life in a senior living community by doing emotional art, reaching out to help others, and supporting other seniors who may be going through a difficult time.

Stewart has learned to lean on his deep, personal faith during times of trouble. “This, too, shall pass,” is an expression he refers to whenever he experiences difficulty. He also encourages younger Americans to look outward when things become overwhelming.

“Talk with others going through difficult times,” he says. “There is strength and comfort in being in a group, knowing that we are not alone.”

Paula Anderson: Lifelong educator and encourager

Teachers hold a special responsibility in our communities, and many of them never give up their mission of equipping others. This is the case for Paula Anderson, a retired educator with 45 years of dedication behind her. As the Project Director of the Upward Bound program at Queens College, CUNY, she encountered daily challenges in helping students grow and thrive. She never lost her hope for a better future for her students.

“Reflecting on the past challenges I endured,” she shares, “I knew that everything would be alright as long as I continued to believe in God.”

Anderson’s faith was a beacon for her to stay positive during her decades as an instructor. The never-quit attitude is something she hopes to pass on to others, even in her retired life.

Anderson also believes that focusing on others is key to a life well-lived. “Through the storms in life, we must love and encourage one another,” she says. “Take time to show love and concern for the elderly, sick, disabled, little children and every other person in this world.”

Shirley Abramson: Light to the little ones

Another retired educator, Shirley Abramson, spent much of her career in a nursery school setting with the responsibility of caring for and teaching the youngest of pupils. She understands that the amount of information today can overwhelm us, and she encourages us to use discernment with any information we receive. “Depend on your intelligence. Read, listen and take advice. Use your intelligence to get you through,” she stresses.

In addition to being mindful about the information we consume, she wants young people to keep a perspective about what they have and look forward. “We cannot dwell on what has happened in the past, but they must think about the present and the future,” she advises. “The past is important, but the future is worth hanging on to.”

She also recommends today’s Americans take ownership of their situation during times of trouble. “You are the captain of your own ship,” she says. “Make the best out of situations and always know that nobody will do it except for you.”

Additional advice for troubling times

We also heard from several other seniors, who shared the perspective that history repeats itself, and things get better over time. Some of the more impressive quotes include advice around helping others to keep your mind off of the bad in the world:

Barth Partch: “Give to the poor, work in soup kitchens and reach out to your elderly neighbors that might need your help.”

Margaret Jordan: “To make yourself feel good, do something for someone else — volunteer. Some of the fuzziest good feelings are when you give of yourself, and no one knows. Research shows that when we help others, our brains release the feel-good hormone throughout our bodies…. Don’t worry — be happy!”

Nick Degestaro: “Try to do a good deed. People are very appreciative if they know that you are listening.”

The Five Star Difference: Making 2022 Happy, Healthy and Stress-Free

There is power in positive thinking and change in helping others. By looking to older adults as a guide, we can find inspiration to continue on, even during the most challenging moments like those we’ve all faced this past year.

Through these troubling times, we’re more proud than ever Five Star Senior Living communities are among the safest places to live thanks to virtually 100% of team members being vaccinated against COVID-19. See if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you and schedule a tour to learn more about how Five Star is ensuring communities stay happy and healthy in 2022 and beyond.

How to Know When to Move to Assisted Living

You’ve earned your retirement, and you deserve to kick back, relax, and enjoy your golden years without the challenges of working. But getting older can pose challenges of its own. If home upkeep, hygiene, and other activities of daily living have become difficult for you or a loved one, it may be time to consider moving to assisted living, also known as personal care in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

When older adults (or their caregivers) hear the words “assisted living,” the image that comes to mind is often an institutional facility that marks the end of the road—a cold place where seniors are meant to live out the final years of their life. But the truth is that transitioning to assisted living can be the start of a wonderful new chapter of life where the to-do list is tossed out and the focus is on what brings joy.

What is Assisted Living?

Falling between independent living and full-time nursing care, assisted living offers a stress-free lifestyle where extra help with activities of daily living (ADLs) is always near so residents can maintain much of their independence.

Signs It’s Time to Move to Assisted Living

No two situations are exactly alike, and there are a lot of factors to weigh when considering moving to assisted living, whether for yourself or a loved one. Here are five signs that it might be time to start thinking about making the move to assisted living.

You Want to Expand Your Social Circle

As you or your loved one gets older and enjoys retirement, social circles can sometimes feel like they’re shrinking. Your friends may have moved away to be closer to their children or relationships you had during your working life have drifted apart.

Moving to an assisted living community is a great way to enjoy a stress-free lifestyle while meeting new people and making new bonds. The life enrichment and wellness activities offered at assisted living communities give you the opportunity to meet people with similar interests and experiences. Five Star takes a holistic approach to active community living with LifeStyle360—whether it’s in art class, on a cultural excursion, or during happy hour you’re bound to make new friends.

Accidents and Falls are More Frequent

As the leading cause of injury among older adults, falls are often caused by an older home that isn’t designed with senior safety in mind. Car accidents also pose a major risk for serious injury for older adults. Especially if you or a loved one lives alone, making driving a necessity.

It can help to reflect on the past year. A question to ask yourself if you’re thinking of moving to assisted living is: have you made two or more trips to the hospital due to a fall or an accident? If you notice any pattern of injuries, you may benefit from moving to an assisted living community where bedrooms and communal areas are made with safety in mind plus trained staff to assist you.

Home Maintenance Struggles

Aging often causes physical strength to decline. This can make it more difficult for you to keep up with housework and yard maintenance. Mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and cleaning out the refrigerator can be difficult and even unsafe.

If taking care of your home has become increasingly difficult it might be time to look at an assisted living community. The stressors of home upkeep, housekeeping, and laundry are all handled by welcoming and trained staff letting you focus on your hobbies and pursue stress-free living.

Difficulty Leaving Home

Whether it’s mobility impairment or a lack of transportation, getting out of the house can become difficult as you or a loved one gets older.

If you are having difficulty leaving your home you may benefit from moving to an assisted living community. Most communities offer expert staff who work with your needs. Plus all kinds of life enriching activities, fun programs, and transportation services are included to keep you engaged and comfortable.

Getting the Right Nutrition

One of the best things about assisted living communities is the restaurant-style dining rooms with well-balanced chef-inspired meals, snacks, and catered meal plans. You or a loved one might benefit from an assisted living community if you find yourself skipping meals or relying on unhealthy convenience foods.

Enjoy The Freedom of Stress-Free Assisted Living

Still not sure if it’s time to think about assisted living? Take your time and reach out to a family member, friend, or an assisted living community directly to start the conversation.

Moving to an assisted living community is a major life decision for you or a loved one to make. There’s a misconception that assisted living means giving up your independence or that someone is watching over you 24/7—this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

At Five Star, assisted living is designed to enhance independence. With no more chores or errands to worry about, you have the freedom to do what makes you happy and rest easy knowing your every need is met at a cost you can afford. Most importantly, though, you are welcomed into a new home sweet home where you’re treated like family from the moment you walk in. Find out if there’s a Five Star community near you or contact us to learn more.

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Guest Blog: How Hospice Brought My Dad Joy, Independence and Family

To paint a fuller picture of senior living, we at Five Star sometimes invite guest writers to share their unique experiences and perspectives in a blog post. Our guest writer this week is Shari Rivera, Manager of Sales Enablement at Five Star whose ailing father found personalized care, companionship and independence in hospice. Read on for Shari’s powerful story of how her dad’s three years in hospice were three of the best years of his life.

The first conversation was hard. I was staying with my dad for a week while my mom was away, and I could immediately tell that something was off. He was acting depressed and not himself. Though he was happy to see me, he would often be upset with himself because he couldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. With the pain from his congestive heart failure (CHF) and loss of independence, he started drinking more than he should. He needed constant care to be available from time to time, and family could only provide so much. Then, hope came in the form of hospice.

Talking About Hospice – A Difficult Conversation Leading to The Right Care

The hospice conversation was tough, but even after several strokes, Dad’s mind was as sharp as ever and he made the decision for himself. I explained to him that he wasn’t going anywhere today and planned on him being with us a long time. We couldn’t change the diagnosis, but we could get him help from caregivers who would be by his side when he needed. He was scared at first, but open to the idea so we, together, called for an evaluation.

Transitioning to Hospice – A New Recliner, Caregiver and Lease on Life

Pops and SalemThat day, we also had some fun to ease his mind. He loved nothing more than watching Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame—his alma mater—football from his beat-up recliner. He had his eyes on a new one, though, that would make him more comfortable than ever on gameday. So, we decided to order the new recliner the same day he was put on hospice. Never would I have thought that he would get to enjoy that recliner for three more great years because hospice made his life worth living.

Dad’s spirits rose as soon as he started meeting with his nurse Carla, his massage therapist and other great hospice caregivers and social workers. I could see the joy and comfort hospice care gave him in his smile whenever I visited. He never overdrank and regained some strength just by knowing he was now in control of his independence. Over time, Carla became more like a friend to Dad and his beloved yellow lab Salem he affectionately calls “Big Guy”. When Dad didn’t feel well enough to come to my son’s out of town wedding and did a respite stay at a skilled nursing facility, he was so worried about who would watch “Big Guy” that he never left his side. That is, until Carla took Salem home with her!

End of Life in Hospice Care – One Last Drive and Family by His Side

New ReclinerWhen the call came after three years that nothing more could be done for Dad, I was sad but not surprised. Salem had recently passed away and Dad asked if we could go for a drive even though he usually preferred to be at home. We rode in my convertible with the top down, Dad sitting in front wearing his Packers cap and mom in the back. We took a lovely country drive and stopped for ice cream. On the way home, Dad asked if we could drive by the Catholic Cemetery to see if the mausoleum he had reserved was ready. It was complete enough that I think my dad felt at peace that it was his time to go.

Family PhotoWhen I arrived at home on his final day, Dad was no longer speaking but could hear us and held my hand until his last breath. In the room were his friends from hospice care who never left his side. They weren’t just his support team; they were his family. After Dad passed, Carla retired. We learned later she was planning on retiring two years earlier but stayed on just to be with my dad. He was the only patient she was caring for at the time of his passing. I’m so thankful that he was able to spend his final years at his home on hospice with folks who helped him find joy and independence despite his condition. Truly, hospice caregivers are angels, and those angels gave my dad his wings.

Senior Care: Where Older Adults Can Find Peace, Joy and Comfort

It can be devastating to see a loved one lose their independence and struggle to stay engaged due to ailing health. Being the primary caregiver can also be overwhelming physically and emotionally. A community of experienced caregivers who can provide support 24/7 at home or in an assisted living community can ease the burden by helping your loved one maintain independence and discover a joyful new lease on life. Call one of our senior care experts at (833) 457-8271 or find a Five Star Senior Living community near you to learn more.