What Is the Medicare Wellness Visit?

March 6, 2020

Are you a senior on Medicare? Be sure to take advantage of the annual wellness visit. Here’s what you should know.

A key component for living your best life during retirement is building a trusting relationship with an experienced primary care physician. Having confidence in your doctor will help you feel comfortable sharing health concerns big and small, no matter how embarrassing. This often allows the physician to catch potential medical issues early before they turn into serious or irreversible health conditions.

In past years, Medicare required older adults to pay for annual wellness visits out of pocket or as part of their deductible. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, this changed. Because ACA focuses on providing health insurance coverage and improving access to preventative screenings, the law includes a preventative visit each year. It is known as the annual Medicare wellness visit.

Understanding the Medicare Wellness Visit

Seniors who have been part of Medicare for at least 12 months are entitled to one wellness visit per year at no cost. During this visit, the doctor will typically screen for depression, conduct a basic vision test, review blood pressure and pulse, and test reflexes. Many physicians will calculate their patient’s body mass index and review any weight concerns.

Your primary care physician may also review or discuss:

  • Family medical history:

The wellness visit also gives seniors and their physicians time to discuss family medical history and note any genetic risks. That allows the physician to determine what preventative screenings may be necessary and how often to have them.

  • Personal medical history:

Lifestyle and past medical history can also determine what illnesses and health problems you may develop. Smoking, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and excessive drinking are a few examples. When your doctor has an in-depth understanding of your personal medical history, they can take a more proactive approach to care.

  • Preventative screenings:

Your physician will use your current health status as well as your age, personal risk factors, and family medical history to establish a preventative health screening schedule. It may include a mammogram, prostate testing, colonoscopy, cholesterol check, and diabetes screening.

Medicare Part B Benefit

While the wellness visit will be paid in full through your Medicare Part B benefit, it’s important to know follow-up testing and treatments may not. Ask your physician or their billing staff what is and isn’t covered.

If the physician’s staff isn’t able to answer your questions, you can call Medicare directly at 1-800-633-4227.

Live Well during Retirement

Developing a relationship with a physician is just one of the necessary elements for ensuring you live well during retirement. There are other factors that play an important role. “4 Decisions That Impact Your Ability to Live Your Best Retirement is a quick article with tips for making informed choices.

For many older adults, moving to a senior living community after retiring improves their quality of life. Benefits include healthy meals, social opportunities, wellness programs, a secure environment, and more.

With communities throughout the southeast, Legacy Senior Living has much to offer. We invite you to call the community nearest you to learn more and to schedule a private tour!

6 Traits Shared By the Greatest Generation

February 3, 2020

The generation born between the two World Wars is known for their humble, quiet character. Learn more about the traits common among this age group.

At Legacy Senior Living, we are proud that so many of our nation’s veterans call one of our assisted living communities home.

One group of veterans we’ve talked about before on our blog are those born between the two World Wars. They are the parents of the Baby Boomers. Broadcaster and author, Tom Brokaw, coined the phrase the Greatest Generation to describe them. It’s a descriptive term that seems to have stuck.

In addition to their commitment to military service, the Greatest Generation is one celebrated for their strength of character. Men and women of this generation have much in common, likely due to their shared experiences.

What traits do people of this generation often share?

As it turns out, a great many.

What We Know About the Greatest Generation.

While the number of survivors from this generation has dwindled greatly, those that remain have much in common when it comes to character. Here are several examples:

  • Disciplined: Anyone who has worked with or employed a member of the Greatest Generation will likely mention this trait. The members of this generation are disciplined, hardworking, and self-motivated.
  • Patriotic: Having played such a pivotal role in shaping our nation, this generation takes their civic duties seriously. Most are patriots through and through. From volunteer work to voting records, they’ve contributed to our country on many levels.
  • Humble: Other characteristics commonly found among this generation include modesty and humility. Veterans from this age group rarely discuss their bravery or accomplishments from their military days. Even friends and family members are sometimes unaware of the commendations their loved one received during their service.
  • Loyal: As our country moves toward a gig economy and lifestyles that focus more on short-term commitments, the loyalty of the Greatest Generation becomes more pronounced. Members of this age group tend to be devoted to family, friends, jobs, and country.
  • Responsible: You will rarely find a member of this generation who shrugged off their responsibilities. Most have a high sense of personal commitment. They follow through with obligations and take ownership of tasks and duties.
  • Fiscally cautious: Unlike subsequent generations, this one is known for being conservative with their money. They live in more modest homes and exercise caution when it comes to spending. Their fiscal responsibility has enabled them to amass healthy savings even on limited incomes.

Benefits to Assist Veterans

There is an option to help with financing if an older veteran in your family would benefit from moving to an assisted living community. Administered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the program is referred to as the Aid and Attendance Benefit.

Learn more by visiting Financing Your Retirement or by calling the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you. One of our team members will be happy to answer your questions.

What Is Glaucoma and How Can Seniors Prevent It?

January 6, 2020

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for seniors. Learn more about this disease, including how it is identified and treated.

Vision loss becomes more common with age. It contributes to challenges ranging from difficulty driving to an increased risk of experiencing a fall. One of the vision problems seniors are most likely to develop is glaucoma. While it is typically treatable, the condition must be detected early.

Experts say about three million Americans have glaucoma, but only about half of them realize it. It causes 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness.

What Is Glaucoma?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are two primary types of glaucoma:

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma: This type of the disease occurs when fluid doesn’t drain from the eye as it should. Pressure in the eye builds and gradually causes damage to the optic nerve. The most common form of glaucoma, it is painless and has no symptoms at first. Early signs of the disease can be detected only through an eye exam.
  • Closed-angle glaucoma: When an adult’s iris is located very close to the drainage angle in their eye, the iris can block it from draining. When the drainage angle becomes completely blocked, pressure in the eye rises very quickly. This is an emergency that must be treated immediately to prevent blindness. Common symptoms include nausea and vomiting, headache, severe eye pain, blurry vision, and seeing rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights.

Early diagnosis and intervention are essential for any type of glaucoma.

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

What can older adults do to lower their risk for developing this common vision issue?

It begins with knowing the risk factors and taking steps to minimize those that are preventable. The most common risk factors for glaucoma include:

  • Age: The risk of developing glaucoma begins to increase at age 40.
  • Genetics: You are more likely to be diagnosed if a family member has the disease.
  • Heritage: People of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent are at increased risk.
  • Steroids: Long-term steroid use also puts you at higher risk for glaucoma.
  • Eye injury: Having a previous eye injury is also linked to developing glaucoma.

You are also more likely to experience glaucoma if you have diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, or poor blood circulation.

Glaucoma Screening and Treatment

A yearly eye exam is vital to identify and intervene early in a variety of vision problems, including glaucoma. Experts recommend having a baseline exam by age 40.

During a glaucoma screening, the doctor will measure the pressure in the eye, the shape and color of the optic nerve, the angle where the iris meets the cornea, and the thickness of the cornea. They will also evaluate the complete field of vision.

If the physician detects signs of glaucoma, they will attempt to lower the pressure in the eye. That typically begins with eye drops but may also include other treatment options, such as oral medications, surgery, or lasers.

Bookmark the Legacy Senior Living Blog

If you are an older adult or a family caregiver, we encourage you to bookmark the Legacy Senior Living blog and stop back frequently. We strive to bring you the latest findings on successful aging, senior living, dementia care, and more.

Should you have questions about senior living, we invite you to visit one of our communities. With locations in six states in the Southeast, our homelike communities allow older adults to live their best quality of life.

Lifestyle Choices That May Lower Your Risk for Cancer

December 9, 2019

Lifestyle choices can lower—or raise—your risk of developing cancer. Here’s what adults of all ages should know.

A cancer diagnosis can be life-changing, whether it is for yourself or someone close to you. When you see the statistics, it’s easy to understand why cancer is such a frightening word to hear from a doctor. In 2018, it’s estimated that 1,735,350 people were diagnosed with cancer in this country, and 609,640 died from some form of the disease.

While some types of cancer are linked to genetics, others can be influenced by lifestyle choices. The latter include lung, liver, and skin cancers. By making smart lifestyle choices, you may be able to lower your risk for some types of cancer.

Cancer Prevention: Lifestyle Choices That May Impact Your Risk

  • Stay active

When it comes to staying active, exercising and avoiding sitting for long periods of time are two separate but equally important factors. Here’s what you should know about each.

A sedentary lifestyle is dangerous. So much so that researchers are now saying it may be as bad for your health as smoking! It is linked to higher risk for several types of cancer, including prostate and pancreatic cancer. Researchers believe this is due to the weight gain and obesity common among people who are sedentary.

You may also be able to lower your risk of cancer by exercising at least 30 minutes, five times a week. Breaking up the exercise into two daily sessions might be easier on a busy schedule, or for an older adult who is just getting back into exercising. For example, a brisk 15-minute walk in the morning combined with a 15-minute yoga session in the evening can help you stay fit.

  • Avoid exposure to tobacco

The connection between smoking and lung cancer is indisputable. Smoking is linked to between 80 and 90 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses. But tobacco also contributes to other forms of cancer, such as throat, kidney, stomach, liver, and mouth cancer. If you use tobacco of any kind, whether it is smokeless tobacco or cigarettes, the best thing you can do to lower your cancer risk is to stop.

Secondhand smoke is deadly too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 41,000 deaths a year are linked to secondhand smoke. Those who live with smokers should require them to smoke outdoors.

  • Follow a healthy diet

Your diet can also impact your odds of developing cancer. Some research shows that consuming processed foods and red meat may put you at higher risk. Avoid ready-to-eat and frozen foods such as lunch meat and processed meats, canned soups, frozen dinners, and other foods that contain a high concentration of preservatives and additives.

Instead, opt for a diet that is primarily plant-based. Green vegetables, colorful fruits, whole grains, legumes, and walnuts are believed to help ward off cancer. One example of a diet that emphasizes plants and other whole foods is the Mediterranean Diet, which is linked to lower incidences of many diseases, including cancer.

  • Protect yourself from the sun

Skin cancer is one of the fastest-growing forms of cancer. You can help prevent it by taking steps to protect your skin. Apply and reapply sunscreen when you will be outside or riding in a car. Avoid being outdoors during the hottest hours of the day. Wear long sleeves and a hat that shields your face.

  • Drink alcohol in moderation

People who consume more alcohol experience higher rates of cancer. Researchers believe it isn’t only the alcohol that is the problem. Risky behaviors commonly associated with overindulging in alcohol may also contribute. For example, heavy drinkers are more likely to eat unhealthy foods and forgo exercise.

Follow Our Blog

If you are a senior or a family caregiver, we encourage you to bookmark and follow the Legacy Senior Living blog. We update it frequently to bring you the latest research and information on aging, senior living, caregiving, dementia, and more.

Should you be interested in learning more about housing options for older adults, we invite you to call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you. One of our experienced team members will be happy to help!

Tips to Enjoy a Skip-Gen Getaway

November 18, 2019

Skip-gen travel refers to grandparents taking the grandkids on a vacation. Learn how to plan a getaway with the younger generation of your family.

The holidays can be a great time to try a new trend: a skip-gen getaway. This phrase describes grandparents and their grandchildren vacationing together.

As people enjoy longer, healthier lives, it’s increasingly common for grandparents to be involved with their grandchildren’s daily activities. More and more, that includes traveling.

If you haven’t yet embarked on a vacation with your grandkids, we have a few tips to help you get started.

How to Organize a Skip-Gen Vacation with Your Grandkids

  • Be realistic.

You might want to start with a short vacation close to your grandchildren’s home. A long weekend or a few days during their holiday break could work. If you haven’t done this before, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can easily return the kids to their mom and dad if they get too homesick.

  • Decide between plane, train, or automobile.

Car travel is often easier and less expensive than air travel when several generations are involved. It can also be easier to coordinate. Another avenue to consider is train travel. Short overnight train trips where you spend a night or two in a sleeper car might seem like a grand adventure to kids.

  • Think beyond Disney.

While it’s tempting to head to a Disney theme park, other destinations can be fun and less crowded during the holidays. Explore opportunities in the towns and cities near you.

Natural history museums can be fun for kids of all ages. They are typically home to dinosaurs, mummies, sharks, and other kid-enticing exhibits.

  • Find kid-friendly lodging.

Take your time exploring hotels and reading reviews. Be sure to book a kid-friendly option! An on-site restaurant, indoor pool, or game room can make even a rainy day more fun.

You also won’t want to worry about the grandkids making too much noise at hotels more accustomed to business travelers than families. This list of 17 kid-friendly hotels from a U.S. News survey of travel advisors might help.

  • Explore restaurants and ice cream shops online.

Before you leave home, surf the internet for family-friendly restaurants and ice cream shops with good reviews. Having a list of places to eat with kid-friendly atmospheres can help you stay on budget while enjoying yourselves.

  • Let the grandkids help.

Another way to make the trip more meaningful is to involve your grandchildren in the planning. This can even be done long distance if you don’t live close to one another. For example, you could come up with a list of destinations and let them pick their favorite.

The bottom line is with careful planning, you can enjoy skip-gen adventures and make memories to cherish for years to come.

Intergenerational Activities at Legacy Communities

At Legacy Senior Living, we understand the importance of intergenerational bonds. From scouting troop visits during the holidays to family nights, you’ll find a variety of intergenerational life enrichment activities in our communities.

If you’ve been considering a move to an independent or assisted living community, we invite you to call the Legacy community nearest you. We’ll be happy to schedule a personal tour!

Shoo the Flu: Senior and Caregiver Flu Prevention Tips

October 1, 2019

Flu season can be especially hard on older adults. Use these tips to stay healthy and keep a senior loved one safe too.

Cup of Tea

Younger people often consider the flu to be more of an inconvenience than a serious health concern, which really isn’t the case. The influenza virus can be deadly, especially for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors account for as much as 85 percent of flu-related deaths and up to 70 percent of hospitalizations.

While receiving the flu vaccine is one of the best ways to avoid being bitten by the bug, there are other steps seniors and caregivers can take to stay healthy.

Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers

1. Limit personal contact

The flu virus can pass from one person to another very easily. A handshake, a hug, or sharing the same drinking fountain can put you at risk for catching the virus. This is especially true for older adults or people with a chronic health condition that causes the immune system to weaken. One way to avoid the virus is by limiting personal contact during flu season. A big smile and warm greeting can convey your happiness about seeing someone without putting you at risk.

2. Wash your hands often

Developing good hand-washing hygiene can help you keep the flu at bay. The virus can linger on doorknobs, credit card readers, and other public locations. Wash your hands with hot, soapy water throughout the day. For times when you won’t have access to hot water and soap, keep a small bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket.

3. Avoid touching your face

A quick scratch on the side of your nose, pushing the hair off of your face, rubbing tired or irritated eyes; if you’ve been exposed to the influenza virus and have it on your hands, these often unconscious actions put you at risk of developing the flu. Most people don’t realize how many times they touch their face throughout the day. Try to make a conscious effort to keep your hands away from your face during flu season.

4. Sleep seven to nine hours every night

Sleep is an important—but often overlooked—component of a healthy lifestyle. Lack of sleep can cause the immune system to weaken. When this happens, the body has to struggle more to fight off viruses. Health professionals say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If you are one of the many seniors who struggle with insomnia, talk to your doctor. There may be an underlying health condition that can be treated.

5. Commit to eating a healthy diet

A well-balanced diet is another must when it comes to keeping the immune system healthy and able to fight off viruses. A diet rich with vegetables, fruit, and lean protein is best. If you aren’t sure how to plan healthy menus, the online resource Choose MyPlate offers a variety of helpful tools.

On Guard for Flu Symptoms

Despite your best attempts at preventing the flu, you might find yourself or a senior loved one coming down with the flu. Call your physician immediately when the first flu symptoms appear. There are antiviral medications physicians can prescribe to help lessen the severity of symptoms and shorten the length of time you are sick. They must be started at the first sign of the flu to be effective, so don’t delay calling the doctor.

Live Well at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living communities throughout the southeast, healthy living is a focus every day. From nutritious meals to on-site wellness programs, we make it easier for residents to live their best quality of life. Call the Legacy community nearest you to learn more!

6 Ways to Sit Less and Why It’s So Important

September 3, 2019

A sedentary lifestyle can be as dangerous as smoking, say the experts. Learn how you can stay active during retirement.

Sitting is the new smoking. Experts now say that spending too much of your day sitting can be deadly. In fact, early mortality is directly impacted by how much time you sit every day. It is linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.

Research shows middle-aged and older adults who sat for 30 minutes or less at a time had the lowest risk for early death. It’s important to note, however, that this doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day exercising. You just need to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time.

If you aren’t sure how to move more and sit less, these tips may be of interest.

6 Ways to Sit Less and Move More

1. Invest in a fitness tracker.

While using a fitness tracker to count your steps each day is helpful, some of these devices come with another beneficial feature—a movement sensor. If you’ve been sitting too long, it will alert you that it’s time to get up and get moving again.

2. Move when you are on the phone.

If you spend time on the phone catching up with adult children and friends every day, it might be tempting to sit down while you talk. A better option is to keep moving. Whether it is walking around your living space or courtyard or even marching in place, staying in motion is good for your health.

3. Set goals for daily steps.

When you are retired and have more free time, it may be easy to lose track of how much you are walking each day. While lunch with friends or participating in an art workshop are great ways to spend your time, they don’t require a lot of movement.

It might be helpful to talk with your physician for a recommendation on how much walking you should be doing each day. You can break this down to a daily goal for the number of steps walked. Don’t be discouraged if you have to start slow and work up. The overall objective is to simply keep moving.

4. Adopt a senior dog.

Having a four-legged friend to love and care for is good for the body, mind, and spirit. Our canine companions keep us active and encourage us to walk more. Adopting an older dog might be more manageable for an older adult than an overactive puppy. The two of you can explore a few pet-friendly trails to walk together every so often.

5. Rethink how you watch television.

Watching the news or a few favorite game shows can be a great way to unwind. The catch is not to get in a rut and spend too much time sitting on the sofa. A healthier option is to limit how much time you spend in front of the television. When you do watch TV, consider riding a recumbent bike or getting up to stretch and take a brisk walk every half hour.

6. Volunteer for a youth organization.

Children help us stay active and young at heart. If you don’t have grandchildren or if they don’t live nearby, consider volunteering for a local youth organization or helping out in the nursery at your church or synagogue. You’ll likely stay busy and enjoy a boost in spirit that naturally occurs when you spend time with children. Alternatively, the Life Enrichment Coordinator at your community is great at bringing in young volunteers and hosting fun activities that are worth being involved in.

Many Ways to Stay Active at Legacy

At Legacy Senior Living communities, you’ll find a wide variety of life enrichment activities to participate in every day right in the comfort of your community. Our “Live Well” program is designed to meet the unique interests and needs of every resident. Call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!

Senior Hydration Basics during the Dog Days of Summer

August 5, 2019

Summer heat and humidity can put older adults at risk for dehydration. Learn how to keep a senior loved one safe and recognize warning signs of dehydration.

The hot, humid days of summer can present unique safety challenges for seniors. Adults with high blood pressure, for example, need to be especially cautious during periods of high humidity. The summer sun also places older adults at higher risk for heat-related illnesses, like dehydration, sun poisoning, and heat stroke.

Now that the dog days of summer are upon us, it’s crucial for seniors and family caregivers to take intentional steps to stay hydrated.

5 Ways for Seniors to Stay Hydrated during the Summer

  1. Boost fluid intake: To prevent dehydration during the hot, humid days of summer, you must eat the right foods and drink the right beverages. Water is usually best. Your physician can help determine how much you should be drinking based on your weight. If you or your senior loved one don’t care for the taste of water, try adding lemon or lime wedges, cucumber slices, or berries to improve the taste. Increasing the amount of foods you eat that have high water content including melons, pears, cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, and popsicles can also be beneficial.
  2. Avoid caffeine: Guzzling drinks like iced coffee and soda might taste great, but the caffeine they contain can put a senior at higher risk for dehydration. While 8-ounce cups may not have much caffeine, super-sized cups or having multiple caffeinated drinks can create a problem. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes fluids to pass through your system faster. That fluid loss can cause dehydration.
  3. Limit alcohol: Summer is often a season for celebrations—many of which include alcoholic beverages. Similar to caffeine, alcohol can contribute to dehydration. If a senior will be spending time outdoors in the heat, it’s best to limit or avoid consuming alcoholic beverages.
  4. Review medication side effects: Many older adults aren’t aware that some medications increase sun sensitivity. This means medications can put seniors at risk of serious sunburn rather quickly. These medications may also cause hives, rashes, and dehydration. Review your loved one’s medications to see if sun sensitivity is a potential side effect.
  5. Plan outdoor time wisely: Whenever possible, plan outdoor activities for the coolest times of day, generally before 10:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. Wearing a lightweight hat with a brim at least three inches wide also promotes better hydration by helping shade the face and neck, keeping your senior loved one cooler.

Finally, we recommend learning more about the symptoms of dehydration in an older adult. From irritability to trouble walking, the signs aren’t always obvious.

Common Signs of Dehydration

Recognizing when a senior loved one is experiencing early signs of dehydration will allow you to seek treatment before a more serious health crisis occurs. Here are some of the most common symptoms to lookout for this summer:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Sunken eyes
  • Trouble walking
  • Inability to sweat
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Low blood pressure

If an older adult in your community is exhibiting these symptoms, get them to a cooler location and call their physician or 911 immediately for more instructions.

While summer might increase the risk for dehydration, it’s a risk older adults face all year long. At Legacy Senior Living communities, we have programs in place to help residents stay hydrated. Call us today (423) 478-8071 to learn more about this and other safety challenges our communities help address.

Saluting our Nation’s Service Members on Independence Day

July 1, 2019

If you are looking for ways to thank veterans and those who serve, these tips will give you some ideas.

Among the patriotic holidays our nation celebrates each year is Independence Day. This federal holiday celebrates the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress declared the thirteen American colonies to be free and independent of the British monarch.

While everyone has their own way of celebrating, remember to also salute and thank veterans and active duty service men and women who are integral in our freedom. If you aren’t sure where to start, we have a few ideas you might find helpful.

Thanking Veterans on Independence Day

  1. Volunteer at a veterans’ organization: One way to show appreciation for our nation’s service men and women is to volunteer for an organization that assists veterans. You will likely find a variety of organizations in your community, ranging from Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) halls to veterans’ health care clinics, to donate your time and talents.
  2. Share the stories: Veterans are often reluctant to share their stories of personal courage and sacrifice. It can result in younger generations not being aware of a grandparent’s or other elder’s service history. If your family is celebrating Independence Day together this year, make a point of sharing photos from your loved one’s service days. Encourage them to talk about where and when they served or ask permission to discuss the stories for them.
  3. Explore the Veterans’ History Project: The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress developed a way to gather the stories of our nation’s veterans and preserve them. It is called the Veterans’ History Project. You can participate and capture the story of a veteran in your life by interviewing the veteran or by sharing their correspondence or photos.
  4. Organize a local recognition event: Another way to honor our veterans and those who serve is to organize an event in your local community. For example, collect photos of veterans and active duty service people from your area. Post their photos in a display at the local library or senior center. At Legacy Senior Living communities, you’ll find a “Wall of Honor” filled with the photos and names of residents who served.
  5. Send thank you notes: Several military service organizations arrange letter-writing campaigns to let those who are serving in overseas know they are not forgotten. At your Independence Day celebration, set up a table with notecards and supplies and ask guests to write a few thank you notes. Operation We Are Here and Operation Gratitude are two examples of organizations to partner with.

It is always important to actively remember the reason we are able to celebrate with family and friends every July 4th.

Senior Care Benefits for Veterans

If a veteran you know is struggling with the costs of senior care, they may not be aware of a benefit designed for them. The Aid & Attendance Benefit is coordinated through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. You can review What Families of Veterans Should Know About the Aid & Attendance Benefit to learn more or call Legacy Senior Living for assistance at (423) 478-8071.

4 Decisions That Impact Your Ability to Live Your Best Retirement

June 6, 2019

Here are 4 factors to consider before retiring.

Planning for retirement is a complex process. Here are 4 factors to consider before retiring.

As retirement age draws near, many older adults are faced with a variety of decisions. While some are minor, others can impact a retiree’s quality of life. When you are working through your plans for retirement, here are 4 factors to consider.

4 Factors to Consider Before Retiring

  1. At what age you want to retire.

Some people dream of retiring early and sailing off on grand adventures. Unfortunately, it isn’t often a practical choice. While you may be eligible to collect some of your social security at age 62, most people can’t draw their full amount until age 66 or 67.

If you have been able to save enough money, this difference may not make a big impact. It’s important to know, however, that if you opt for early social security benefits, the amount you receive each month will be permanently reduced.

For many older adults, it is health insurance that greatly impacts when they retire. Most seniors are eligible for Medicare benefits beginning at age 65. If you retire before then, you may be able to use COBRA to extend your health care benefits or access an individual plan through the health care marketplace. Both options, however, can take a significant bite out of a retiree’s budget.

  1. Where you want to live after retiring.

From climate to health care, it’s important to think long and hard about where you will live after you retire. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Climate: Older adults often find southern climates to be a good choice for avoiding winter’s ice and snow. This is especially true for adults with chronic health conditions like osteoarthritis and asthma.
  • Health care: It is important to take into consideration how close you will be to hospitals, physician offices, and other care providers.
  • Public transportation: Many seniors lose confidence in their driving skills as they grow older. Be sure to explore transportation options before making a decision.
  • Cost of living: Some cities and states are much more affordable than others. When trying to make a retirement budget stretch, choosing a location with a low cost of living can make a big difference.
  1. The type of housing you choose.

Along with where you live, it’s important to think very carefully about the type of residence or senior community you choose to live in. Retirement communities typically have multiple levels of care. Most offer what is referred to as a continuum of care. That means you might move into an independent living apartment and later add personal-care services or move to an assisted living suite.

By contrast, if you choose to live in a private home, you will need to consider the expenses you have now and those you will incur in the future. Beyond the mortgage and utilities, you’ll need to budget for assistance with maintenance, home repairs, and basic housekeeping when those jobs become overwhelming.

Seniors who choose to age in place often need to modify their homes with ramps and barrier-free showers. Many will also need the support of an in-home care provider.

  1. What your priorities are in retirement.

Finally, think about what is most important to you. Are you looking to retire and move closer to your children and grandchildren? Or are you looking for freedom to travel more and be less tied down?

Living with purpose is an important part of aging well. Some find that purpose is found in family relationships, while others say volunteer work and continuing education is key. Be honest about what your hopes and dreams for retirement are, and use that as your guidepost in making decisions.

Retire at a Legacy Senior Living Community

With senior living communities located throughout the southeast, you are sure to find a Legacy Senior Living community that meets your retirement criteria. Call 423-478-8071 to learn more today!