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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.

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

Growing old can be a beautiful thing, full of new experiences and joys like finally taking that trip you always planned on or helping raise grandchildren. Yet, there comes a time for many seniors when worsening health conditions make basic daily activities—like bathing or managing medication—require assistance. These may be signs it’s time to consider moving into an assisted living community.

Moving into an assisted living community can be a difficult—and emotional—decision. It doesn’t help that searching for assisted living costs online brings up all sorts of confusing fees, contracts and services that vary widely. You might be wondering:

  • How much does assisted living actually cost? And is it worth it?
  • How does assisted living cost compare to the cost of in-home care?
  • How can I pay for assistance living?

Here’s the good news: there’s no need to keep searching. We’ve got you covered with simple and straightforward answers to the most asked questions about the cost of assisted living. Here’s what you need to know about assisted living costs so you can make the best choice.

What is an assisted living community?

Assisted living communities are far more than just places that provide senior care. They should also be a home where everyday burdens—like transportation and chores—are taken care of so your loved one can stay active and engaged doing the things they love most. Assisted living can be best thought of as a busy, involved community atmosphere that lies on the continuum between independent living and full-time, nursing-provided care. It’s best for seniors who need a little extra help with some activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing and medication reminders so they can live their most independent life.

What is the average cost assisted living?

Assisted living costs can vary greatly depending upon what area of the country you live in. The size of the apartment you choose, and the types and number of services also impact the monthly cost of assisted living. According to Genworth Financial, the average cost of assisted living in 2020 was $4,300 per month. Compare that to the cost of hiring a home health aide and housekeeper in 2020: an average of $9,000 a year! While the monthly cost of assisted living may cause an initial senior living sticker shock, the services and amenities included in the monthly cost make a move to an assisted living community a smart financial decision.

What is included in the average monthly cost for assisted living?

The true value of assisted living goes far beyond a new place to call home. Assisted living communities offer a wide variety of amenities and services included in the monthly cost to meet your loved one’s needs like:

  • Housekeeping, maintenance and laundry services.
  • Nutritious, chef-prepared meals served restaurant-style in the dining room.
  • Utilities and basic cable television.
  • A full calendar of life enrichment programs to participate in each day.
  • Transportation services for errands, appointments and other community outings.
  • Wellness programs and senior-friendly fitness activities.
  • Emergency call systems in apartments and/or an emergency call pendant option.

How can I pay for assisted living?

No matter your budget, there are ways to make assisted living more affordable. Though most seniors pay with private funds, the monthly cost of assisted living can become much more manageable through senior living financing options like:

  • A Bridge Loan or Senior Line-of-Credit: These short-term, “interest-only” loans help fund assisted living costs until the necessary money comes in.
  • Deferred Annuity with Long-term Care Rider: Rather than making monthly insurance payments, the investor places a lump sum of money into a deferred annuity. They can then withdraw the money, tax-free and without any IRS penalties, to pay for assisted living.
  • Life Settlement Accounts: With a life settlement agreement, a senior sells their life insurance to a third party and receives a lump sum payment.
  • Veteran’s Benefits: US veterans and the surviving spouses of veterans can receive monthly benefits to pay for assisted living through the Aid and Attendance Benefit.

The Five Star Difference: Affordable, stress-free assisted living

We know how hard the decision to move into an assisted living community can be, especially when it comes down to figuring out the cost and how to pay for it. That’s why Five Star’s senior living experts are happy to help answer your questions about assisted living costs and work with your budget so you can make the most informed decision.

In a Five Star assisted living community, our residents receive the services they need in an engaging, active lifestyle they deserve at a cost they can afford. Most importantly, though, they are welcomed into a new home sweet home where life is stress-free, and friends become family. Download our FREE Guide to the Cost of Senior Living eBook and find out if there’s a Five Star community near you to learn more.

Sparking New Holiday Traditions at Five Star Senior Living

Treasure hunts? Indoor snowball fights? At Five Star Senior Living, new traditions make the holidays the most wonderful time of the year.

From waking up early to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to staying up late on Christmas Eve baking cookies for Santa, holiday traditions are special times for celebrating and reconnecting with loved ones. As we age, though, it can be more difficult to manage the heavy load of hosting holiday traditions you’ve carried on for decades. Passing the torch to the next generation is bittersweet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still experience the joy of taking part in holiday traditions, old and new, at a senior living community.

Though some holiday traditions—like Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas carols—have remained constant, many others evolved over time, sometimes sparking new traditions entirely like Secret Santa gift exchanges and adding your voice to an acapella recording of “Deck the Halls.” These new holiday traditions, though unfamiliar at first, can spark renewed feelings of comfort and joy during the holiday season and soon become beloved rituals you look forward to year after year. Here are four unique holiday traditions celebrated in some of our Five Star Senior Living communities that residents have embraced over the years.

The Remington Club – Gold Coin Treasure Hunt

When a new Thanksgiving activity becomes so popular that residents request that it returns for Christmas, you know you’ve struck gold on a new holiday tradition. The Remington Club Lifestyle 360 Director John Cedres says the Gold Coin Treasure Hunt started to give residents staying in the senior living community for Thanksgiving a fun incentive to go outside and be active. For the treasure hunt, clues are hidden throughout Remington Club’s gorgeous community of palm trees, pools and mountain views, the last clue of which leads to a gold coin.

For residents who completed The Remington Club’s “Know Your Phone” technology class, there are also several bonus clues incorporating QR codes. Residents who find the gold coin can then take it to the treasure chest for a gift which Cedres tries to customize for each resident. He says the hunt, which started just last year, has been such a huge hit that he plans on making it a new tradition for other holidays, too. “It’s music to my ears when people ask about traditions and anticipate them,” he says.

Pueblo Norte Senior Living – Thanksgiving in the Desert

While many families gather inside around the dining table for Thanksgiving, at Pueblo Norte Senior Living, the setting is as breathtaking as it gets. For 29 years, Pueblo Norte team members have helped transport senior living residents and cooked turkey into the desert a week before Thanksgiving for a meal with a spectacular backdrop: the rugged and beautiful White Tank Mountains. This year, 40 residents attended and enjoyed a fantastic feast and amazing views all while seated next to neighbors and team members-turned-family. “I’ve done this before and I love it because we’re outdoors, there’s no wind, there’s sunshine and there’s wonderful people,” says resident Carol Galts.

Watch the video below for some of the highlights:

The Horizon Club – Holiday Choir Concert

The holiday choir concert is one of the most asked about events at The Horizon Club, even more so since it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Thanks to an ingenious plan to hang up lights in the courtyard and move the concert outdoors, though, this year the holiday choir show will go on! The about 20-person choir was started by residents several years ago and puts on shows year-round from Broadway show tunes to a patriotic program on the Fourth of July. The choir is open to all, regardless of disabilities or level of care. The holiday concert in particular is a tradition beloved by the community and spreads good cheer for all to hear that lingers in the hearts of residents long after the last song.

“The concert is something residents really look forward to year after year, and we have a healthy community when we have that,” says Marty Beth Rutenis, Executive Director of The Horizon Club.

Northwood Manor – Indoor Snowball Fight

Turns out you don’t need real snow to have a “snowball” fight, just imagination, lots of paper and a group of residents ready to have fun and let loose. That’s the idea behind Northwood Manor’s annual indoor snowball fight, a new holiday tradition created by executive director John Clark. Clark says the snowball fight always leads to a roomful of laughter and childhood memories bringing smiles to residents’ faces. All it takes is a bunch of crinkled up white paper to look like snowballs and getting residents seated in a circle before the “fight” begins. No holding back here. Clark says residents have a blast tossing the paper snowballs at anybody and everybody, including him. The snowball fight may be a simple and short activity on the holiday calendar, but Clark says seeing the joy in his residents’ faces as they embrace an entirely new holiday tradition is what makes it so special.

“Our residents come with different traditions and experiences in life, and this is a new beginning and opportunity,” he says. “That’s why we strive to keep the Christmas spirit alive with new traditions and fun things to do.”

The More the Merrier: Come Celebrate New Holiday Traditions with Us

Pumpkin carving, decking the halls, gift exchanges…holiday traditions old and new await you at Five Star, and all are welcome to join in the fun. See if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you and schedule a tour to discover which new traditions you can start looking forward to. From our Five Star family to yours, we wish you a warm, safe, and happy holiday season!

Home Care or Assisted Living: A Comparison

Exploring different senior living options for you or an aging loved one can feel overwhelming. You want to make the right choice for you or your loved one’s health and happiness, while also respecting your family’s desires regarding staying at home or transitioning to a senior living community. Both senior living arrangements have benefits and drawbacks worth considering. In this article, we’ll help clarify your options when choosing between assisted living and non-medical home care for seniors so that you can make the best, most informed choice for you and your family.

What is Non-Medical Home Care?

When you hire non-medical home care, a home care aide will come to you or your loved one’s home and stay—either round-the-clock or on a pre-determined schedule. This person, sometimes called a senior care companion or home aide, can help perform daily tasks provide companionship.

Non-Medical Care versus Skilled Home Health Care

It’s important to note the difference between non-medical care and home health care. Nearly anyone—even without a medical license—can perform non-medical care. In fact, the burden often falls on a family member, who isn’t paid for these services.

On the other hand, home health professionals are skilled medical professionals who can often administer medications, offer occupational therapy services, change wound dressings, and assess overall health. If you or your loved one is experiencing health concerns or if you’re worried about moving safely around the house, home health care is worth considering. Unfortunately, home care for seniors, both medical and non-medical, can be expensive and the costs can quickly add up to thousands of dollars a month, particularly if round-the-clock care is needed.

What Is Assisted Living?

In an assisted living community, staff is available 24/7 to provide non-medical care services. You or your senior loved one receives care and companionship she or he whenever it’s necessary.

In addition, an assisted living community often provides social activities from group yoga classes to movie night to keep residents engaged with life. Many also offer wellness programs, healthy meal options and transportation. If you opt for in-home non-medical care, you’ll have to pay separately for these types of services.

Non-Medical Home Care or Assisted Living?

Caregivers and seniors often believe non-medical home care is a suitable, more affordable option to assisted living. They might even believe non-medical home care gives a senior more freedom. For an older adult who wishes to age in place, in-home care may be the right option. Here are some of the key differences between the two to consider:

Assisted Living vs. Home Care Comparison Table


Assisted Living

Home Care

What types of care are provided?

In assisted living, residents may need some help with transportation, medication management, housekeeping and other specific activities of daily living such as dressing and personal care, but still live independently.

Care may include:

  • Bathing and personal hygiene
  • Medication reminders (although in most states they cannot administer medication)
  • Getting dressed
  • Help eating

What other services are offered?

Residents receive three nutritious meals each day and access to life enrichment programs and social activities like yoga classes and movie nights to keep residents engaged with life.

Services may include:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Cooking
  • Transportation
  • Companionship

What is the living situation like?

Assisted living communities are designed to feel home-like and residents typically live in their own apartments or suites with private baths and kitchenettes.

Home care allows for aging in the comfort of your own home, but modifications to the home might be necessary to maintain independence.

How much does it cost?

The median cost of assisted living in the United States in 2021 was $4,300 per month, according to Genworth’s most recent Cost of Care Survey.

In 2021, the average cost of a home health aide $5,148 per month.

Another major benefit of assisted living is that your care is spread out across an entire team instead of one individual. If your home health aide calls in sick or needs to care for someone else, few alternative options are available. Assisted living means your loved one will always have the care they need, when they need it. 

Note: Your money also goes a lot further in an assisted living community since large expenses like rent and dining are included, along with a wide variety of activities and close companionship with other older adults you can’t get with a home aide. Download our FREE Guide to the Cost of Senior Living eBook to learn more about how assisted living may be more affordable than you think.

When analyzing all factors, including costs, it’s important to remember the following:

  • A senior who uses non-medical home care must pay the home aide, along with all the usual expenses such as meals, mortgage, taxes, and utilities
  • Assisted living includes non-medical care, as well as a place to live, transportation, some meals, home maintenance (including lawn care), and utilities
  • Assisted living provides services when you or your loved one needs it, round-the-clock

Move or Stay?

The decision to move to assisted living or to age-in-place with help from a home aide is a difficult one. Find a Five Star Senior Living community near you to see if the environment, services and amenities would be the right fit for you. 

When to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care

It can seem like just another one of those “senior moments” at first. Maybe your dad is starting to have more difficulty with familiar tasks at his assisted living community. A team member calls to tell you he hasn’t been participating in activities due to losing track of time and his way around the community. One of the harder to accept explanations is that your dad may be showing signs of dementia, leaving you and your family with a difficult choice: should he move from assisted living to memory care?

Dementia is a scary word that many associate with a loss of control and the ability to live a fulfilling life. It can be heartbreaking to watch a loved one struggle to recognize their grandchildren or recall that beloved family vacation. A dementia diagnosis, though, doesn’t mean your loved one still can’t find joy and purpose in life. It may just be a sign that it’s time to move them into a community with specialized care and a team that understands how to meet their growing needs with compassion and understanding. This is where memory care comes in.

What is Memory Care?

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia affect people differently. Over time, it can progress from new problems with words when speaking or writing to issues that affect your loved ones’ safety and quality of life. That’s why the team in a memory care community is made up of memory care specialists trained to help each memory care resident enjoy a life filled with dignity, purpose and moments of engagement.

Memory care isn’t just for helping residents be safe, it is for creating moments of joy by building on each resident’s personal narrative to help them feel successful and connected. Making your loved one feel at home—and offering plenty of opportunities for fun and belonging—are at the heart of a dedicated memory care community. Five Star Senior Living’s award-winning, innovative Bridge to Rediscovery program provides those moments of joy and stimulation, and so much more. Whatever your loved one’s passions and abilities, Bridge to Rediscovery tailors their surroundings and activities around them. Meeting all the resident’s needs is the mission, from basic tasks to helping them find a sense of purpose and connection.

How is Memory Care Different from an Assisted Living Community?

Assisted living and memory care communities offer some similar services, help with the activities of daily living, dining, programs and more. Memory care communities are designed to provide specialized care for residents with dementia. Memory care team members have additional training and experience caring for seniors with dementia who can sometimes express challenging behaviors.

At Five Star, we use the phrase relate, motivate and appreciate. Memory care should relate to each resident’s life experiences so they feel connected to the world around them. We motivate people by focusing on what they enjoy, and we appreciate by inviting participation and giving choices. Programs that include the five domains of wellness: cognitive, sensory, group, motor and purpose help individuals with dementia flourish. A variety of therapies such as music therapy, aroma therapy, art therapy, pet therapy and horticultural therapy are quite helpful to encourage those with memory conditions to engage in the world around them. The activities of daily living (ADLs) offered in assisted living—like bathing and grooming—are still available, but memory care goes the extra step to give your loved one the specialized attention they need to continue to live a healthy and enjoyable life in a safe, secured environment.

4 Ways to Know It’s Time to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care

It’s not uncommon for people to be more forgetful as they age. That’s what makes dementia so difficult to spot. It can seem harmless at first—a slight disorientation to time and place or stumbling on certain words—before escalating. Those signs of dementia could mean it’s time to make the move to memory care. Here are four key things to watch out for that could signal that it’s time to transition.

  1. Regular Confusion: We all forget to do the dishes or take out the trash every now and then. If your loved one is frequently losing track of time, having trouble expressing themselves or wandering, memory care will be the best choice.
  2. Less Active in the Community: Was your dad once a pool shark in the billiards club, but hasn’t shown up in a while? Maybe he stops by the activity room every now and then but seems distant and disinterested in whatever is going on. Dementia might be making these activities more challenging, and they would benefit from gentler, more cognitively stimulating activities.
  3. Requiring More Help: Is your loved one experiencing difficulties with the daily activities and are they exhibiting a decline in their cognitive abilities and decision-making skills? For example, a parent who has always done a good job managing finances and now their bills are overdue.
  4. Wandering: Becoming lost or exit seeking behaviors can occur at all stages of dementia and there are a variety of causes. Wandering is a sign that your loved one requires a safe and controlled environment.

Your loved one deserves to live an engaging, purposeful life in a setting that is custom tailored to their strengths and abilities. And you deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your loved one lives where they are safe, and have a sense of purpose and belonging. A dementia diagnosis is difficult to grapple with, but you and your loved one don’t have to face it alone. Moving them into a memory care community can help them receive the specialized care they need to live a meaningful life full of joy and laughter.

If you think your loved one is showing signs of dementia and it might be time to move them from assisted living into memory care, find a memory care community near you and meet with the team there to discuss your questions.

How to Choose an Outpatient After-Surgery Rehab Center

When an older adult is hospitalized for an injury, illness or planned surgery, they may continue to recover at a skilled nursing and rehab center before returning home or to their senior living community. This short-term care can help improve their overall outcome and prevent a return trip to the hospital. But what about long-term? How does someone stay in their best physical shape—and out of the ER—as life goes on?

That’s where outpatient after-surgery rehab centers come in. Outpatient rehab is an option that can follow short-term rehab to provide more intensive therapy in an outpatient setting. This comprehensive approach can ensure a complete recovery and a more durable therapeutic outcome.

Not all outpatient rehab providers are alike, however. Try the tips below to find the best provider for you or your loved one.

6 Tips for Choosing an Outpatient Rehab Provider

Here are some factors to consider and questions to ask when exploring outpatient after surgery rehab center options:

  1. Success rates: Outpatient rehab providers have varying levels of experience. Make sure you ask a provider how well their clients do in the following areas: reduced risk of falling, increased walking distance and improved ability to use stairs. Can they provide figures? What percentage of clients end up back in the hospital?
  2. Specialization: Have the providers’ therapists completed specialized training in working with older adults? Do they use programs clinically proven for older adults, such as the Otago Exercise Program, which is designed to reduce risk of falling?
  3. Fitness training: Does the provider offer post-rehab fitness and strength training? This one-on-one personal training can help prevent future injuries and allow seniors to retain their highest degree of independence. Not many outpatient rehab providers offer fitness training, but its many benefits are worth the trouble to find one that does.
  4. Reputation: How long has the provider been in business? Longevity can be a mark of success. Also ask friends who have been through outpatient rehab what advice they have to offer. It can help you gain objective insight into any provider you are considering.
  5. Fully equipped onsite clinics. Is the provider located onsite or elsewhere? Offsite providers can’t carry in some of the sophisticated equipment needed for optimal outcomes, such as SCIFIT cardio equipment, recumbent bikes and HUR balance equipment.
  6. Scheduling: Does the provider offer onsite clinic hours so clients aren’t beholden to a visiting therapist’s schedule? The easier it is to schedule, the better the chances of completing a course of therapy or fitness training for a full return to optimal quality of life.

Respite Care: A Convenient Option for Outpatient Rehab

If you or a loved one are having surgery and anticipate the need for support from an after-surgery rehab center, here’s good news: You can book a short-term stay in a Five Star Senior Living community that features an onsite Ageility clinic. Ageility is Five Star’s rehab and fitness partner. Founded in 2001, Ageility specializes in older adults and provides fitness classes and training in addition to onsite physical and occupational therapy. Find out if there’s an Ageility clinic near you.

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The Difference Between Senior Apartments and Independent Living

In the lingo-heavy world of senior living, it can be hard to know the difference between terms like “senior apartments” and “independent living communities.” Sounds pretty similar, right? Look a little closer at their definitions, though, and you’ll find one offers far more than the other. Here’s a breakdown of both senior apartments and independent living communities that can help you decide which is the best fit for you or your loved one. Can you spot the difference?

What are senior apartments?

In the same way that senior discounts are just discounts created for a certain age group, senior apartments are pretty similar to regular apartments, they’re just restricted to, and designed for, older adults. Most often the age requirement for a senior apartment community is 55 or 62. The complex will need to be compliant with the HUD regulations for age discrimination. The senior apartment buildings likely have no or limited stairs, are handicap accessible, and have handrails in the bathroom to accommodate the needs of older adults with limited mobility. Senior apartments differ from 55+ communities in that they typically do not have the amenities that a 55+ community offers. In some instances, senior apartments are subsidized based on income.

Like many things in life, there are also more upscale senior living options for those that can afford the high price tag. Luxury senior living apartments promise a premium lifestyle with floorplans featuring gleaming new surfaces and all the latest gadgets, along with access to exclusive amenities. It all comes at a steep cost, though. Luxury senior apartments can quickly eat away at a retirement nest egg and it’s possible to enjoy luxury living for a lot less.

What is independent living?

If senior apartments are like a hotel, then consider independent living communities (also called retirement communities) a resort. For example, accommodations in a Five Star Senior Living independent living community range from spacious, beautifully designed apartments to maintenance-free villas and cottages. They’re best for more active seniors who want to maintain their independence and don’t require the type of additional support you’d find in assisted living. Independent living communities offer everything senior apartments do and so much more.

What are the key differences between senior apartments and independent living?

Though both senior apartments and independent living communities offer senior living options for older adults, independent living communities offer so much more than just a place to live. They also welcome you into a tight-knit community where friends become family and everything you need is right at your doorstep. Here are a few other key differences between the two to remember:

Senior Apartments vs. Independent Living Comparison Table

Senior Apartments

Independent Living

What services are provided? Senior apartment complexes offer the convenience of providing maintenance of the building, grounds and apartment. Independent living communities offer a stress-free lifestyle where the hassles of life—like home upkeep, cooking and cleaning—are taken care of so you can spend more time enjoying all the activities and amenities your community offers.
What amenities are provided? There may also be a clubhouse with planned social activities. The availability and quality of amenities can vary widely by complex. Convenient access to on-site shared dining spaces, pools, libraries, game rooms and a wide variety of community activities ensures that there’s never a shortage of ways to spend your days in independent living.
How much does it cost? The cost to rent a senior apartment varies. There are, however, affordable options like low-income apartments that cap rent and utilities at about 30 percent of income. Market rate apartments with costs at or slightly below the cost of local all-age apartments and luxury senior apartments are other available options. Communities vary widely in terms of cost, which can range from $2,000 to $5,000 or more a month. A number of factors determine what you pay, like the type of community and location. Download our FREE Guide to the Cost of Senior Living eBook to learn more and get the answers you need.
How do I find a community near me? Your best bet is to search online for senior apartments or contact your local housing authority and ask about senior apartment options in your area. The best place to start is to search online for “independent living communities” or use Five Star’s easy Find a Community search tool to discover select communities in your area.

The Five Star Difference: Stress-Free Independent Living, Reimagined

In an independent living community, you can truly leave your worries behind and focus on the things that matter most. Ready to experience the Five Star difference? See if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you and schedule a tour to discover just how much you have to look forward to.

What is luxury senior living?

If you’ve gone on Google and looked into senior living options, you’ve probably come across the phrase, “luxury senior living.” The concept of luxury retirement living has come of age, driven in part by the rising number of Baby Boomers considering retirement.

But what exactly is luxury senior living? Definitions vary widely, as do the range of communities advertising premium services and amenities. At one end of the spectrum are communities promoting the good life: the upscale apartments of a high-rise, the concierge-like services of a fine hotel, and resort-like amenities such as movie theaters and heated indoor swimming pools.

The catch? The entrance or buy-in fee for some luxury communities can be pretty steep—in some cases, from hundreds of thousands of dollars to well over $1 million. The monthly fees are substantial as well. Fortunately for those who choose to be more discriminating with their retirement nest egg, it’s possible to enjoy luxury living for a lot less. Let’s talk about what really makes senior living luxurious.

Living the good life where your needs are taken care of

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary offers a definition of the good life as “a happy and enjoyable life.” According to The World Happiness Report 2021, which is based on Gallup polling data, some of the major factors supporting a happy and enjoyable life are health, someone to count on, freedom and trust.

If you or someone you love is older, you might be surprised (and happy!) to learn that according to the report, the wellbeing of people over 60 rose significantly in 2020, including fewer health problems, despite older people being at greater risk of COVID-19. The higher ratings were attributed mainly to better health and, interestingly, “someone to count on” in the form of neighbors and Zoom calls during the pandemic.

Interestingly because it so happens that having someone to count on is a major advantage of living in a community designed for older adults, whether that someone is a neighbor checking in, a team member taking care of errands or housekeeping, or family members dropping by. You never have to worry about you or your loved one being alone. Senior living communities also enable the freedom to enjoy a life without chores as well as having onsite support and services—and, in the case of some Five Star Senior Living communities, onsite fitness and rehab centers—all provided by folks you’ve come to know and trust, all of which support better health.

Luxury living: plush and personalized

Of course, enjoying luxurious accommodations can be part of the good life, too. A Five Star senior living community might offer any or all of the following, with an emphasis on personalizing services and amenities for a bespoke experience:

  • Gourmet-style dining, including personal favorites
  • Beautiful lobbies, living rooms, meeting areas, card rooms, activity spaces, bars, bistros, courtyards, pools and other inviting spaces where you can meet with friends and family
  • Pianos, drums and other musical equipment for classes or general use
  • Onsite fitness centers
  • Onsite entertainment and Happy Hours
  • A full complement of social, educational, wellness, cultural and spiritual program
  • Guided day trips to places of regional interest, with transportation
  • Extra-attentive team members—servers, housekeepers, maintenance—who are focused on your every need

Five Star Senior Living offers premier community options with these features and so much more. Search our communities and you will see which ones offer resort-like services and amenities such as concierges, bistros, pools, full libraries, beauty salons, doctor house calls, landscaped gardens and incredible views. Across the board, however, whether independent living or assisted living, no matter which Five Star community you choose, you can count on enjoying the good life.

The wealth of warmth

The added advantage of a quality senior living community is that all of these life enhancements come with a sense of independence in the warmth of a community setting, a kind of personal wealth money can’t necessarily buy. When you think about it, luxury living can be seen as being in a class by itself—or living where you feel you’re flying first-class. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Good living happens here

Ready to make a change? Ready for the good life? Find out if there’s a Five Star community near you. We’ll make you feel like royalty.

Four Reasons to Choose an Established Senior Living Community

Remember “New Coke?” In 1985, at the peak of the “Cola Wars” between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Coca-Cola launched the sweeter formula to boost sales. Ads for New Coke urged people to “Change for the Best!” Soda-lovers weren’t impressed. New Coke was a dud. Three months later, “Coca-Cola Classic” was released with a return to the formula people knew and loved that hasn’t been changed since.

Whether it’s soft drinks or senior living communities, there are always new and supposedly “better” options vying for your attention. In recent years, glamorous senior living buildings have popped up in cities nationwide promising to freshen up the senior living formula with flashy new features. When it comes to choosing the right senior living community for you or your loved one, though, “new” isn’t necessarily “better.” That’s why Five Star Senior Living communities’ recipe for success for years has been putting people over perks, from the team members who tell you “Good Morning” with a smile to the residents who welcome you in like family. There may be more options for senior living communities than ever before, but here are four reasons why, like New Coke, it’s best not to mess with a classic recipe.

A Recipe with a Reputation

Any company can tout the quality of their service, but it’s the reviews of people who live in senior living communities that separate unproven claims from the real deal. Reviews from residents of senior living communities are particularly important as they can help you find out what the residents love—and aren’t thrilled about — before you make the big step of moving in. Newer residences might not offer this opportunity because they don’t yet have a long-term reputation. Unlike established communities, you’ll have to take their associates and management at their word instead of residents who live there.

A Community Flavor

Established senior living communities know that one of the keys to their success is how they build and nurture a warm and welcoming group of residents. That familial feeling takes time, often years, to develop. That goes for cultivating relationships with the surrounding community, too. New senior living complexes likely haven’t been around long enough to create strong connections amongst residents or partnerships with local organizations that are a beloved hallmark of established senior living communities.

A Tested Formula

Just like any new soda needs to pass safety tests, senior living communities must jump through all sorts of inspections and regulatory hoops to ensure the highest quality and safety standards. In an industry where time tested policies and procedures have enormous impacts on the health and happiness of residents, established communities with strong track records of compliance over many years are the gold standard, something that new providers haven’t been around long enough to earn.

A Classic Experience

Despite the number of new, shiny senior living options now available, seniors already living in established communities haven’t been persuaded to pack their bags. The big reason? They know a proven experience is better than a promised one. Over many years, the communities that have proudly served older adults and those who love them have accumulated wisdom that helps them deliver a lifestyle that combines the classic with the contemporary. They’ve also mastered how to provide the best experience for residents from the quality of care to knowing what dishes they love best. That doesn’t happen overnight.

Only time will tell if sleek, modernized senior living buildings will go the way of New Coke. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure, proven senior living communities like Five Star’s will keep offering the beloved formula that has attracted residents for years: a community where it’s not about the perks you get, but the people you meet. When the recipe is right, don’t mess with it, and nothing beats a classic. Take it from this adult child whose dad moved to a newer community, but returned to an established Five Star one soon after.

“My father was a resident at Heritage Place of Fredericksburg for several years. At one point he wanted to move to the newer, better place in town. We were against it but we moved him. Three months later he was ready to return to Heritage because he missed the staff (family as he called them), the close knit community and the home feeling of the place. This time we were happy to move him.” (Kaden)

If you’re weighing the options for you or a loved one and want the reassurance of an established community, consider all that Five Star Senior Living has to offer.