Make Retirement Living Exciting and Satisfying

retired

For some, there were probably many times when you worked that you said, “If only I had time for…” Now, you do. The senior years of your life provide excitement and satisfaction when you approach retirement living with a positive attitude. Here are some ideas for your new leisure time.

  • Travel

If your budget does not allow for expensive excursions, consider taking day trips. Get out and discover what neighboring regions have to offer. Research spots known for natural beauty and enjoy the outdoors in a new environment. Consult regional magazines to find information on festivals, concerts and events, especially designed for older adults.

  • Get Active on Social Media

Reconnect with old friends online. Play games with a chat feature so you find new buddies. Post about your hobbies and your grandchildren. Learn about new trends, listen to new music, check stock profiles, share your photos and play in fantasy sports leagues.

  • Become a Social Butterfly

Join a club for seniors and develop relationships with others enjoying their retirements. Make your life more interesting by seeking out new friends from other cultures. Learn a new language to further broaden your world. Attend parties, hang out in shopping malls and relax in coffee shops and sports bars.

  • Find a New Physical Activity

Give archery, badminton or water exercise a try. Take a dance class, enjoy paddle boating or learn to fly fish. Consult your doctor about what activities are suitable for you if have medical issues. There are always exercises you do can do at any level. Your body and mind both benefit.

  • Give Back to Your Community

Get involved in the local political scene. Attend city council and other government meetings. Stand up for a cause you believe in, such as education choice, minority rights or green living. Assist in organizing events to benefit charitable organizations.

  • Volunteer

Volunteer at local hospitals, veteran homes, animal shelters or food pantries. Be enthusiastic and caring to help raise the spirits of others in need. You will make many meaningful connections, your empathy will deepen and you will find yourself contented, engaged and uplifted.

Your time is now. Don’t simply while it away. Try to venture out and immerse yourself in activities you have dreamed of and things you have yet to imagine.

Importance of Professional Senior Home Care for Your Loved Ones

While it may be hard to deal with the fact that the people you care for are going through the aging process, taking on or planning their care does not have to be an overwhelming task. You can ensure that your loves ones are safe, happy and healthy with some professional assistance. Hiring senior care services helps to put seniors at ease and this is why you need to find the best provider available.

Professional Senior Care
In order for professional caregivers to be able to give high quality care, they undergo additional training during their employment. This is crucial for ensuring that seniors get the best care possible. Their expertise and advanced skills enable them to cater to an extensive range of elderly care services. The industry consists of professionals and dedicated caregivers who handle your elderly loved ones with respect, compassion and kindness.

Significance of Remaining Active
Physical therapy helps seniors minimize their dependence on other people whether they have a chronic illness or want to become healthier and improve their mobility. Being physically active restores and enhances an individual’s functionality. It also helps to reduce pain while increasing mobility to enhance balance and strength.

As people get older, it is normal for them to lose strength, balance and flexibility. It becomes more challenging for them to maintain general fitness. Losing such functions increases the risk of falling and serious injuries. Physical therapy, regular exercise and remaining as active as possible will help to restore these functions. Click here for Assisting Hands Houston.

Preventing and Managing Health Conditions
Diseases such as osteoporosis cause a progressive decrease in bone density and out people at a higher risk of injury. It is among the leading causes of falls that can be avoided. Regular and moderate physical activity can manage this type of condition.

Exercising is useful for alleviating the painful and distressing symptoms of other conditions such as arthritis. Physical therapy consists of exercises that are used to strengthen the joints and preserve their functionality. Discomfort is eased through various physical modifications and techniques.

Physical Therapy after Hospitalization
Minimizing physical activity can lead to adverse consequences such as falls, especially after a person has been hospitalized. Many elderly people become weak and are vulnerable to falling hospitalization. They need to physical therapy to regain their strength and avoid going back to hospital because of injuries. Without being active, the risk for various diseases increases. Lack of mobility can also lead to skin problems, including sores and ulcers.

Benefits of Physical Activities for Seniors
Physical activities influence the levels of strength that you are able to have and help to prevent major health problems such as heart attacks and stroke. Professionals educate seniors about how to function effectively, improve quality of life and take care of physical and mental health. If you do not move regularly, your joints are likely to become stiff and this can lead to pain.

Physical activities for seniors that are monitored by professional caregivers and medical personnel offer numerous benefits that go beyond becoming fitter and stronger. They renew the confidence and self-esteem of seniors, give them back independence and make it easier to perform daily tasks.

Author’s Bio

Lucy Jones has been writing as a freelance for more than 5 years. She enjoys research and writing about a wide variety of topics that she shares through different platforms. For more information about Assisting Hands Houston, please go to the site.

3 Ways to Manage Elder Care Disputes

Laughing

According to the U.S Census Bureau’s international population report An Aging World: 2015, the global population of individuals aged 65 and over rose by 55 million between 2012 and 2015. Correspondingly, as the elder population has increased so has the need for health services and caregiving. According to the report, adult children are the primary unpaid caregivers of their parents. Families acting as primary care givers face several challenges. Sometimes conflicts result from having to choose between home health services, a nursing home, or having an aging parent live with a relative. Other times deciding on how to pay for reoccurring medical expenses is a source of contention. No matter the issue, conversations regarding the care of an elder relative have the potential of becoming explosive. Before differing views lead to family drama consider one of these three options.

  • A Family Meeting

Family meetings are a good tool to use before an issue becomes a major problem. Similar to setting up a meeting for work, arranging a family meeting entails taking the initiative to contact family members and reserving a day, time, and place for the meeting. Preparing an agenda ahead of time will give attendees advanced time to think about what issues will be discussed and keep the focus of the meeting on track.

If someone lives out of state or far away, they can still be a participant via a video conferencing app like Facetime or by phone. The size of the meeting should remain fairly small. A suggested size is less than ten individuals. When determining who to include, consider non-family members like a close friend, neighbor, or house keeper who may have insight into what the caregiving needs are. Coordinating family meetings can be cumbersome, but well worth the work to open up the lines of communication between relatives.

Negative past experiences and estranged relationships are factors that can discourage individuals from desiring to meet so it is important to give reassurance that their participation is valuable. Lack of participation could lead to future problems especially if the outcome of the meeting is different than what an absent family member had in mind. If there is a strong likelihood of individuals becoming confrontational or tempers flaring consider family counseling to mend any damaged relationships. Conducting a family meeting while injured relationships exist may prove to be unfruitful.

  • Family Counseling

While the idea of family counseling can feel threatening, the benefits outweigh the discomforts. When there are estranged, broken, or damaged familial relationships, working together to come to a unanimous decision on the caregiving of an aging parent or relative can feel like an impossibility. However, in family therapy a therapist assists families dealing with high stress, communication breakdowns, depression, or anxiety. A family therapist is skilled and knowledgeable on how to improve communication, address painful past issues, engage family members in caregiving, and connect families with community resources. Through family counseling individuals receive the tools to rebuild trust, handle differences, and reconcile relationships.

  • Elder Care Mediation

A growing method for managing elder care disputes is mediation. In mediation, a trained qualified neutral third party named the mediator meets with individuals to facilitate resolutions to disagreements. The mediator schedules a day and time for family members to meet, listens to each relative’s concerns, clarifies disputed issues, and aids the group in generating a creative solution to the problem or problems. Mediation is a confidential informal process where the mediator provides a safe environment for people to talk and empowers participants to be collaborative decision-makers. Mediation differs from therapy in that while families may reconcile the purpose of the mediation is to come to an agreed plan of action. Mediators are versed in advanced conflict resolution methods and possess the skills to bring disputing parties to consensus. Should the parties reach an agreement, the terms of their agreement are written out in detail forming a binding contract enforceable like any other contract.

When seeking a mediator, one should consider experience level, cost, and familiarity with elder issues. The state of Texas has formed community dispute resolution centers supported by qualified mediators to provide affordable conflict resolution services at a minimal cost. Organizations such as Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas in Tarrant County help families resolve elder care disputes in addition to other types of conflicts. Furthermore, there are numerous private mediators with diverse backgrounds, professions, and specializations.

To find a mediator in your area visit:

Author: Annette Smith has ten years of experience in the field of mediation as a mediator and advocate for the greater use of alternative dispute resolution systems. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Texas A&M University and is an employee of Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas Inc. (DRS North Texas) in Fort Worth, Texas. DRS North Texas is a non-profit community dispute resolution organization of professional volunteer mediators who provide affordable mediation services and teach mediation and dispute and conflict resolution, an effective alternative to litigation. For more, visit drsnorthtexas.org.

Marketing to Seniors: Learning to Speak the Language of a Service Savvy Generation

marketing

Today’s seniors are inundated with marketing specifically designed to catch their attention. But what do seniors really want? Simply stated, today’s senior is probably looking for reliable goods and services and excellent customer service.

Reflecting back to how things were 50 years ago gives us a vantage point for the senior’s expectations. Seniors grew up in a time when stores were compartmentalized by specialty and service was paramount. If something broke, they took it back to the source and the issue was quickly resolved, often by someone they knew. In today’s world, things are not so easy anymore. We no longer know the folks down at the hardware store, as it has been replaced by the large, franchised mega­-store. A phone call to a business may result in a quagmire of automated questions. Times have changed, but many seniors long for the way things were.

Below are some helpful “Marketing to Seniors” tips for your business.

  • There are ways to incorporate the ways of the past while marketing cutting-edge products and services to seniors. Seniors want to speak with an individual and they do not like automated attendants. Enhance your product or service with live customer service.
  • Seniors are inherently frugal, but will invest in quality. Products and services should be promoted with quality outcomes, testimonials and third-party endorsements. Seniors will most likely buy what they believe in.
  • Ensure individuals directly marketing to seniors have enough “life experience” to garner the respect of their elders. Seniors value hard work and a strong work ethic and may make a quick judgement if the individual does not outwardly convey these values.
  • Seniors are tech savvy and will research product and service reviews online. Try to ensure that your online presence is positive. Many seniors are connected to social media, so when marketing a community, a strong social media presence is vital to your success. It is also a good idea to post pictures of seniors experiencing the community. Post daily menus and activities, as well as comments and reviews. Allow the senior to connect with the community.
Overall, marketing to seniors should be carried out in a way that demonstrates value and service. Today’s senior is savvy and knowledgeable. Promote quality and service and focus on interpersonal connection. Provide excellent follow-through for successful outcomes.

Advertising, Marketing, Social Media and Sales: Use Predictive Analytics to Make the Sales Process Easier

salesmarket

“I like to think of sales as the ability to gracefully persuade, not manipulate, a person or persons into a win ­win situation,” Bo Bennett.

Most senior care business directors and owners have one goal: find new residents and clients. However, though finding customers can happen without planning and direct action, it’s much better to understand how to prospect. You can then use prospecting to attract clients who are more likely to move into your community. Though prospecting is just one part of the sales process, many professionals consider it the second most crucial part, next to asking for or closing the sale.

For many,

  • Qualifying questions come naturally. “Is the person you’re speaking with a decision-­maker for the family? Is he or she already shopping around for a solution?” etc.
  • The approach and presentation are a given after you get your foot in the door; and
  • You rarely get the sale without a formal close.

However, without prospecting, many SMB owners waste time trying to sell to people who aren’t ready to make a decision, cold and lukewarm leads at best.

The Steps to Simple Prospecting:

  • Define your ideal customer or target market and the decision-­maker who will actually sign on the dotted line:

(ie. the adult child earning $X/year, the active senior couple with X hobbies and $X retirement savings, etc.) The more specific and detailed you are in your description, the easier finding prospects will be.

  • Use a soft approach:

Cold calling is hard for people who aren’t seasoned sales pros. However, there’s a way to soften things. Prospecting is part of that. Try sending a piece of direct mail or email first before calling on the phone. Asking the person if they received your correspondence is a much easier way to start a potential sales conversation. Direct mail is more memorable than email. Try sending a little 3 x 4­ inch booklet or a standard tri­-fold brochure that beautifully advertises your community or care service; along with a cordial sales letter with a call-­to-­action asking them to call you or contact you online.

  • Aim for reachable goals with your campaign:

Too many business owners aim for an immediate year lease. However, you may want to close a free trial weekend, social event or something softer and easier for your potential clients to agree to. This will make the whole encounter easier for you and them.

Growing and managing a senior living community in the modern marketplace isn’t easy. There’s a lot of competition. However, one of the easiest ways to stay afloat is to use big data to qualify leads for your organization. Data analysis provides you with a very rich prospect pool of people more likely to want or need your product or service, who are also financially able to pay for it.

Predictive analytics can help you reach your business goals using proven methodology. With the peace of mind that you’re building your business on a solid foundation of serving clients who truly want or need your product or services, you can then feel free to focus your attention on building your brand and reputation the right way.

Marketing the Retirement Community to Seniors

Copy of retirement-ahead

For years, the retirement industry has focused on the Baby Boomer population and has anticipated the changes they would bring to senior living complexes. Boomers are here, and they are somewhat a surprise to developers and housing providers. Instead of a focus on opulent surroundings and a relaxing ambiance, today’s senior is most likely looking at staying active and engaged.

A study completed in 2005 showed that 29 percent of seniors were interested in web based education. That figure is expected to grow. Seniors want to live in communities that provide state-­of­-the-art computer systems and support. Active post­-retirement adults are technologically savvy and they want services that allow them to get online. They are looking for college courses, wellness classes and recreational activities on the Internet. Communities that woo these consumers will have to provide reliable connectivity and, perhaps, even closed-circuit learning opportunities.

People in their 60s and beyond have experienced a lot of change and want to leave a legacy that matters. In great numbers they espoused ecological responsibility, down to recycling and organic food preparation. That means they want the place they call home to reflect those values.

Another change that retirement communities must make if they are to stay viable is moving from a quiet place to “spend their last years” to a vital place to begin a new life. Seventy-six percent of Boomers intend to work beyond retirement age. Many are looking for second careers. That means senior living complexes must meet needs for transportation, networking, investment education and other resources. Boomers are also more active than any older population segment has ever been. Communities that hope to attract them should have things like biking and hiking paths, gyms, exercise rooms and pools on site or close at hand.

One problem in all of this is that the economy has hit many seniors hard. Retirement funds and investments have ridden a roller coaster since 9­-11 and Boomers are wary of lavish spending. In the competitive market of senior living complexes, this translates to the issue of providing the services at a price seniors can afford. Communities that offer discounts and “coupons” may gain an edge.

Today’s senior is a different brand than those of yesterday. Marketing to that person who is determined to be strong and vital well into old age, and to leave a legacy of education and social consciousness will be the key to whether a senior living community thrives.

5 Tips for Moving Seniors to a New Residence

moving

Seniors may reach a point in their lives where they are unable to live independently. It can be very trying and stressful for both the senior and family members at this point. There are many emotional and financial hardships that may go along with making decisions regarding senior living and care. Whether moving the elderly individual in with family, into a care home or an assisted living community, this decision is not easy and must not be taken lightly. There are many factors to be considered. Below are some tips on moving seniors to a new residence.

  • Consider the Wants and Needs of the Senior

While it is important to ensure the needs of the senior are met, it is also important to consider what he/she wants when faced with the possibility of a move. This individual will be leaving a home that he/she may have been in for most of his/her life. The new residence may be where he/she will spend the remainder of his/her life. It can be easy for family members to focus more on the cost and other aspects of the move, but the senior’s wants and needs also need to be given consideration.

  • Research Options

There are many options today for senior living. Before a move is finalized, research should be done to ensure the best option is chosen for the senior. Communities may differ from state to state, as well as financing available. Families should research all options with the senior to ensure the right decision is made. It is also important to know the laws. Depending on the funding source for care and housing, the senior may need to downsize their assets in order to receive funding. For example, if they receive assistance from Medicaid, their income needs to remain under a certain amount in order to be eligible. This means certain assets, such as their home and bank accounts, may put them over the poverty line and make them ineligible for assistance.

  • Plan Every Aspect of the Move

From the moment the decision is made for the senior to move to a new residence, planning should begin. Where will the senior be moving? What is the monthly cost? How will that cost be paid? Who will assist with the move? When will the move take place? How will the family ensure the move is as comfortable as possible for their loved one?

  • Enlist the Help of Others

Moving a senior relative can be a very stressful and emotional time. One person should not feel as if they have to handle it alone. They should seek assistance from other relatives, friends and/or neighbors.

  • Downsize
Downsizing may be one of the most difficult aspects of moving a senior to a new residence. This can be both time-consuming and emotional. What is important is to make sure that the senior is involved in this process so that he/she can still feel as if they are in control of the situation. Moving may be necessary for health and/or safety reasons, but the senior may be very resistant to leaving his/her home. This part of the process requires patience and caring. This is a stressful time in the senior’s life and he/she needs as much help and support as possible.

5 Tips for Moving Seniors to a New Residence

moving

Seniors may reach a point in their lives where they are unable to live independently. It can be very trying and stressful for both the senior and family members at this point. There are many emotional and financial hardships that may go along with making decisions regarding senior living and care. Whether moving the elderly individual in with family, into a care home or an assisted living community, this decision is not easy and must not be taken lightly. There are many factors to be considered. Below are some tips on moving seniors to a new residence.

  • Consider the Wants and Needs of the Senior

While it is important to ensure the needs of the senior are met, it is also important to consider what he/she wants when faced with the possibility of a move. This individual will be leaving a home that he/she may have been in for most of his/her life. The new residence may be where he/she will spend the remainder of his/her life. It can be easy for family members to focus more on the cost and other aspects of the move, but the senior’s wants and needs also need to be given consideration.

  • Research Options

There are many options today for senior living. Before a move is finalized, research should be done to ensure the best option is chosen for the senior. Communities may differ from state to state, as well as financing available. Families should research all options with the senior to ensure the right decision is made. It is also important to know the laws. Depending on the funding source for care and housing, the senior may need to downsize their assets in order to receive funding. For example, if they receive assistance from Medicaid, their income needs to remain under a certain amount in order to be eligible. This means certain assets, such as their home and bank accounts, may put them over the poverty line and make them ineligible for assistance.

  • Plan Every Aspect of the Move

From the moment the decision is made for the senior to move to a new residence, planning should begin. Where will the senior be moving? What is the monthly cost? How will that cost be paid? Who will assist with the move? When will the move take place? How will the family ensure the move is as comfortable as possible for their loved one?

  • Enlist the Help of Others

Moving a senior relative can be a very stressful and emotional time. One person should not feel as if they have to handle it alone. They should seek assistance from other relatives, friends and/or neighbors.

  • Downsize
Downsizing may be one of the most difficult aspects of moving a senior to a new residence. This can be both time-consuming and emotional. What is important is to make sure that the senior is involved in this process so that he/she can still feel as if they are in control of the situation. Moving may be necessary for health and/or safety reasons, but the senior may be very resistant to leaving his/her home. This part of the process requires patience and caring. This is a stressful time in the senior’s life and he/she needs as much help and support as possible.

Face to Face: Social Media, Advertising, Marketing and Sales from the Inside Out

social-media

Do you want to get people passionate about your community and passionate about passing the word along that you are a community that is caring, compassionate and worthy of consideration for their loved ones?

Get face-to-face once in a while.

“How” you say? Try and get out in the community for a while and meet people. Hold or get involved in a community fair, or several small ones.

You’re likely to meet two kinds of individuals:

  • The ones who carry their day into media – the ones who post, blog, tweet and chatter on technology that is such an integral part of business these days.
  • Those folks who do not partake in the technological world of Facebook, Twitter and Internet research. Either they are the ones who need the care, or they are the caretaker whose days are filled with care-taking and worrying about where their loved one may end up.

Both worry about conditions, money, and all the other aspects of long term or short term care. They have questions and they don’t know who to talk to. They are unable to research facilities in their area to any real extent. And furthermore, they do not trust the internet. Try and have a sit-down conversation with them and you will hear that.

There’s still a generation out there who prefer face-to-face contact and to be able to talk about their impending future to the professionals who might be caring for them. Once they feel they would like to consider something, they will, in turn, take that information to their family members, the next generation(s) who will be instrumental in making decisions for them. And what’s the first thing this generation is doing? Checking out the institution on the internet. It serves the purpose of connecting to social media and it also helps give the loved one a feeling of autonomy when making decisions about their future.

By getting out in the community, you have accomplished two things. You have made contact with the generation that does not always do or trust social media; and you are giving a nod to the extending decision makers when it’s time to help mom get a place. You are also putting a face to a name. People like what is familiar to them.

Social media is very strong in the present and will continue to grow. But reaching out to the generation who is not comfortable or able to get involved in social media or by using the internet to research, you are building a bridge that will benefit all individuals involved in the process of choosing a home for their loved one.

Three Questions to Launch the Client Relationship

Moving a loved one

When you first hear that a prospective client is interested in moving to your senior living and care community, it’s very tempting to respond with urgency. After all, you know everything there is to know about your community, its amenities and advantages. It is important to resist this temptation and start slow, however, if you want satisfied customers. The most important role for you in the initial phase of the client relationship is as a listener. If you are successful in helping clients articulate to you what they want and need from their new housing arrangement, you are that much more likely to be able to provide it.

The decision to move out of one’s home and into a setting designed exclusively for seniors is never easy. It involves letting go of a well-established set of habits and routines and becoming open to new ways of living and meeting one’s needs. To make this decision wisely, you can use these questions to help clients determine what they are most looking for in this next chapter of their life.

  • What are They Looking to Leave Behind? 

Many people are tired of the financial cost and stress of maintaining their existing homes. Some are tired of having to drive long distances to entertainment, restaurants, health care or to visit family. Some are ready to stop feeling isolated or lonely. Others feel their homes are no longer safe places for them to live. If the pressures and burdens of the “old house” are no longer worth putting up with, senior living may offer alternatives that are easier, cheaper and more in line with their future plans.

  • What are They Looking Forward to? 

Some people are eager to simplify their lives and possessions in order to spend more energy doing the things they like best. Others want to invest in new social relationships and communities. Many seniors are deeply engaged in work and other pursuits and want to be closer to supportive resources for these endeavors. Others want to spend more time with family members. Senior living arrangements can facilitate all of these goals by supporting independent living without the burdens of home ownership.

  • Where are the Tender Places in This Decision? 

Deciding to leave home and start a new kind of life can feel upsetting. To avoid unnecessary anxiety about this decision, it is helpful to see your worries as useful signals about how to move forward. It is natural to grieve when we say goodbye to one part of our lives and enter another. Encourage clients to take time to process these emotions without rushing. This will help make their transition a time of optimism and excitement.

Once you understand what your prospective clients are looking for and what they are looking to avoid in their new arrangements, you have a much better chance of reaching a satisfactory agreement about their new housing options. Taking the extra time in the early stages of the client relationship to establish common ground will streamline the decision-making process and create the mutual trust that will spur them to commit to you and your community.