4 Things To Consider Before Moving Parents Into Your Home

As your parent ages, you might be wondering what the future will look like when it comes to their health, their care, and their living situation. If moving parents into your home is a possibility you are either entertaining or shying away from, you need to be sure you are considering multiple factors.

It’s a big decision to move a parent into your home, and it’s certainly not for everyone. Both family members and the senior can struggle with knowing if becoming roommates is the best decision for the relationship and for the budget. By considering the financial and emotional costs ahead of time, both you and your parent will be in a better position to make an informed — rather than purely emotional — decision. Here are tips to keep in mind.

Can you afford to move a parent into your home?

At first glance, you might think that moving a parent into your home will save costs. After all, they won’t need to pay a mortgage, home insurance, or other homeowner costs. However, caregiving at your own home can get expensive quickly.

According to AARP’s 2021 Caregiving Out-of-Pocket Costs Study, annual costs for caregiving tasks or supplies average more than $7,200 per year. This cost does not take into account child-related expenses and instead is solely focused on caregiving for older parents.

It’s important to take some time to look at your current budget and predict how it might change if your parent moves in. For example, you’ll continue to pay your own household expenses, including mortgage and insurance, but you will likely increase your payments for groceries as well as any home improvements or modifications to make your new living arrangement safe for your older parent.

Walt Mozdzer, an experienced senior financial adviser, is used to advising clients about housing and financial decisions. But a few years ago, he found himself in his client’s position: His mother was struggling with medical problems. It was complicated by a “souring relationship” with his sister-in-law, with whom his mother lived in the neighboring state.

Walt and his wife opted to move his mother into their home. But, his mother couldn’t manage the stairs in their two-story home, so Walt spent hundreds of dollars modifying the space.

“Our preparation costs included tearing up our dining room to put in a hospital bed and a modular shower downstairs,” Walt said.

Walt’s mother paid him rent every month, but because she liked the house to be much warmer than he was used to, the family’s utility bills grew. With an additional person at the table, the family’s grocery bills grew too. To give his wife some alone time, Walt also took his mother to an adult care program two days a week, which he says cost several hundred dollars per month.

“There are other hidden costs in caregiving, such as time spent transporting your parent to doctor appointments and to the local big-box store for greeting cards, yarn, postage stamps, and so on,” he said.

Spending time now forecasting additional costs can help to ensure your budget stays intact.


Do you have the support you need to stay healthy?

Moving a parent into your home is more than just a financial responsibility. It also has serious ramifications on your emotional health. The Sandwich Generation — or adult children who are tasked with caring for their own children as well as for their aging parents — is under a great deal of stress thanks to all of the personal and professional obligations they carry. Without the proper support, moving a parent into your home can end up leaving you with caregiver burnout.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, family caregivers are at an increased risk for burnout symptoms ranging from increased depression and anxiety to increased risk of heart disease. In short, family caregivers are often in worse health than their non-caregiving peers.


Before you consider moving your parents into your home, make sure you have the support systems in place so that you aren’t shouldering all of the caregiving tasks. Ask other family members to commit to helping out weekly with specific tasks, such as running Mom to the doctor or giving you a night off by stopping by with dinner.

You can also research home care services near you. A visiting caregiver can come to your home to assist as scheduled, which can offer you a nice respite when you need it. Keep in mind, though, that this service can become expensive quite quickly.

Is your home safe for your parent?

If your parent has mobility challenges, chronic pain, cognitive decline or other complex medical conditions, you might simply not be set up to keep them safe in your home. Safety modifications, including grab bars, new lighting, and step-in showers, can prevent the risk of falling, but they begin to add up quickly. In cases of cognitive decline, leaving home to go to work might become unrealistic if your parent needs more hands-on support and redirection.

Talk to your local Area Agency on Aging for recommendations that you can use to adjust your home to best suit your parent’s mobility and abilities. If you are unable to provide them with the safety adjustments they need, moving in might not be the best — or safest — idea right now.

Is Mom going to be isolated or lonely?

Beyond how moving your parents into your home affects you, it also affects them. While you and your parents might be more engaged with one another when living together, they will likely miss their neighbors and friends once they move to your home. Without reliable transportation, they might not be able to attend events or programs they once enjoyed and looked forward to.

Isolation and feelings of loneliness are common in older adults, though we are only beginning to learn the health consequences that accompany these feelings. The National Institutes of Health reports that isolated seniors are more likely to be depressed, have more rapid cognitive decline, and are more vulnerable to heart disease than their social peers.

What are your other options?

Moving your parents into your home might not be the best decision for you or for them, and while there are a lot of emotions that come with that decision, many others in your situation come to the same conclusion. Instead of finding support systems and a contractor to modify your current home, focus your energy on finding realistic and healthy alternatives to your parent living with you or on their own.

Today’s senior living communities are not like what you might be imagining, especially if you have not been to a community in the past decade. Exceptional communities are committed to creating an environment not just focused on safety and care, but also on promoting healthy living and important social connections. It is also common for family relationships to thrive when a parent chooses community living because it gives everyone peace of mind and the opportunity to be family and not roommates.

The right senior living community can offer your parent luxury amenities, personalized care assistance (if needed), and a social lifestyle to support overall wellness.

The US is unprepared to provide housing and care for millions of older adults

The US population 65 and over soared by 34 percent in the last decade, from 43 million in 2012 to 58 million in 2022. In the coming decade, the fastest growth will occur among those over 80, when people are more likely to need accessible housing as well as services and support at home. The US, however, is not ready to provide housing and care for this surging population, according to our new Housing America’s Older Adults 2023 report.

The Dual Challenge of Housing and Services in Later Life
Older adults, whose incomes are often fixed or declining, increasingly face the twin challenges of securing affordable housing and the services they need to remain in the home of their choice. In 2021, an all-time high of nearly 11.2 million older adults were cost-burdened, meaning they spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Cost burdens are particularly high for renters, homeowners with mortgages, and households age 80 and over.  Accessible housing is also in short supply; fewer than 4 percent of US homes offered the three key features of accessible housing—single-floor living, no-step entries, and wide hallways and doorways—at last measure.

The Cost of Long-Term Care Is Out of Reach for Most Older Adults
The costs of long-term care (LTC) services are also high, averaging over $100 per day nationwide. The majority of older adults will need these services and those with very low incomes, who are most likely to require them, have the fewest resources to pay for them. When LTC services are added to housing costs, only 14 percent of single people 75 and over can afford a daily visit from a paid caregiver, and just 13 percent can afford to move to assisted living.

Government Assistance Is Insufficient to Meet the Growing Need
Government-funded rental assistance provides crucial support to older adults with very low incomes, but demand dramatically outstrips supply, and with homelessness on the rise among this population, assistance is more important than ever. Those with slightly higher incomes also struggle to qualify for assistance; 29 percent of people living alone who are 75 and over have incomes above 50 percent of area median income, but cannot afford the cost of assisted living. Just 8 percent of this group could afford a daily visit from a home health aide.

Renters and Homeowners of Color Face Steeper Burdens
While some older adults have home equity that can be tapped to pay for care or services, many do not. This is not only because of the increasing number of older adults but because of widening wealth and income inequality. Older renters have only 2 percent of the net wealth of older homeowners and there are steep inequalities among owners as well; older Black homeowners have the lowest housing equity at $123,000, compared to $251,000 for older white homeowners, $200,000 for older Hispanic owners, and $270,000 for older owners who are Asian, multiracial, or another race.

Mortgage Debt Among Older Adults Is Rising
Between 1989 and 2022, the share of homeowners 65 to 79 with a mortgage increased from 24 to 41 percent and the median mortgage debt shot up over 400 percent, from $21,000 in 1989 to $110,000. Over 30 percent of homeowners age 80 and over are also carrying mortgages, up from just three percent three decades ago. Borrowing is often a way for older homeowners to access cash for basic needs or care. Given the importance of housing equity later in life there is a real need for safe and affordable mortgage products that work for older owners with limited incomes. Financing incentives could provide better opportunities for those who wish to remain in their communities but in more suitable homes; this would be particularly welcome in rural and other low-density areas where the choices are especially limited.

The Growing Threat of Climate Change
Some states long favored by older adults because of their warmer weather are increasingly experiencing extreme heat and harsh storms. In addition to health risks, property damage is a rising concern, particularly for the increasing number of older people without insurance. Severe storms in Florida caused $228 billion in property damage from February 2020 through April 2023, a state that is home to 8.3 percent of the nation’s older population.

The Outlook
As the US population ages, more older adults will struggle to afford either the home of their choice or the care they need. With subsidies for housing and LTC services scarce, many older adults will have to forgo needed care or rely on family and friends for assistance. More funding would be needed, but there is a tremendous need for creative alternatives to existing models of care and housing to better support the country’s rapidly aging population.

What Is Pet Therapy for Seniors?

man and woman smiling and walking dog outside
Whether it’s the traditional joys of cuddling up with a cat or dog, something a bit more offbeat like snuggling a rabbit, or even the eccentric joy of watching a tarantula or playing with a pet snake, pets make our lives better. After all, animals are an important part of our world. The pets we love help connect us to the natural world and the parts of ourselves we might otherwise forget. Pet therapy for seniors includes a wide range of practices, both formal and informal, from snuggling with your favorite pet to having structured interactions with a therapy animal. If you like animals, there’s a way to incorporate them into your life. Knowing the benefits of pet therapy might inspire you to adopt a companion or volunteer at your local animal rescue, all while committing to your well-being. It’s a win for both you and the animal! Here’s what you need to know about pet therapy for seniors and why everyone can benefit:  

What Is Pet Therapy?

Pet therapy can mean many different things. Although not necessarily a formal method of medical support, “pet therapy” typically refers to any emotional or physical benefits one receives from interacting with domesticated animals. This holistic approach to wellness is certainly still a valid form of care, especially for those with disabilities. Pet therapy is available in various forms, including:
  • Animal-assisted psychotherapy: Some therapists use animals to ease their clients’ anxiety or to make treatment more engaging.
  • Animal-assisted physical therapy: A dog can help you in physical therapy, working alongside you or serving as a supportive companion.
  • Therapy animal visits: Therapy animals visit people in senior living communities, hospitals and even at home to lift their spirits, offer support and provide affection.
  • Emotional support animal: An emotional support animal is a pet you choose to improve your well-being. You might get a dog to ease loneliness or a cat to help with anxiety, for example.
  • Specially trained pets: Guide dogs, seizure-alert dogs and other animals are trained to perform specific tasks to support their owners. You might be surprised to learn the many things animals can learn to do and how many animals can be trained to assist.

The Importance of Relationships

Exercise, diet and regular visits to a doctor you trust are all essential components of long-term health. But research has shown that the most important factor is your relationships. A rich array of social connections can help you live a longer, healthier, more joyful life. Compared to peers, people with rich social connections live longer, have fewer health issues and even make more money. Pets offer social connections too. Your relationship with your dog, cat or other animal companion can be as important as other relationships and offer significant health benefits. Pets may even help foster social connections. They encourage you to get out and meet people, providing an easy icebreaker. Who doesn’t love chatting with another dog lover about their beloved puppy?  

The Many Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

Spending time with animals offers many benefits. For example, petting a dog can lower blood pressure immediately. Additionally, research consistently shows dog owners have lower blood pressure. Some other benefits of interacting with and owning pets include:
  • Lower stress and decreased stress-related ailments.
  • Reduced loneliness and isolation, both because of the relationship with the pet and because pets can help you connect with others.
  • Healthy triglyceride and cholesterol numbers.
  • An incentive to stay physically and socially active.
  • A chance to indulge in new hobbies, such as joining a frisbee team with your dog or heading to a cat or reptile meet-up. Pets can inspire you to do the things you’ve always loved or explore new hobbies.
  • Fun! If you love animals, then you’ll love spending time with them. Everyone needs and deserves more fun in their life.
In therapeutic settings, animals can make challenging work feel less overwhelming. Visits from therapy animals can invigorate a person’s spirits and potentially inspire them to reap more benefits by getting a pet of their own.  

Incorporating Pet Therapy Into Your Life

Adopting a pet is a great way to incorporate pet therapy into your life. The satisfaction of improving a fellow being’s life may compound the benefits of pet ownership, giving you a deeper sense of purpose. Remember also that dogs and cats aren’t the only options. Small mammals can make for excellent pets, with a variety of choices from rabbits to hamsters to domesticated rats. Furthermore, reptiles and birds are highly intelligent and fascinating to learn about. And although a spider might not be cute or cuddly, it can be interesting and engaging. Jumping spiders are having a moment on social media, and some rival mammals with their cuteness. Always keep in mind that every pet, no matter the species, requires research and regular care. If pet ownership feels like too much, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy more time with animals and incorporate pet therapy into your life:
  • Consider fostering an animal. This is a great way to experiment with pet ownership, especially if you’re on the fence.
  • Plan frequent visits with friends and family who have pets.
  • Offer to pet-sit for a loved one.
  • Visit a therapy animal or volunteer to work with a therapy animal organization.
  • Look into pet-assisted therapy options if desired.
  • Volunteer at your local animal rescue or wildlife rehabilitation center. The United Way offers a nationwide volunteer search tool that can help you find the perfect animal volunteer opportunity for your lifestyle.

Pet-Friendly Senior Living Communities

A pet-friendly senior living community can help you enjoy more time with animals, whether you visit a neighbor’s beloved fluffball or adopt one of your own. The right community makes forging new relationships — with both animals and humans — easy and fun. These social connections, human or otherwise, are vital for maintaining wellness and a high quality of life. Recent research suggests that the single most important determinant of well-being and longevity is social fitness.

How Much Sleep Do Seniors Need? The Importance of Proper Rest

Eight hours of sleep every night: It’s the rule most of us learned. But, as it turns out, it’s not that simple. Did you know that sleep needs can change as you age? Genetics can also influence your personal sleep needs, causing you to need slightly more or less than your spouse, your best friend or even your child. And the length of time you sleep isn’t necessarily a good indication of how much sleep you get since health, pain, anxiety and a myriad of other factors may influence your ability to fall and stay asleep.

How much sleep do seniors need? And what can you do to maximize the quality of your shuteye? Here are our top tips for improving your sleep.


How Much Sleep Do Seniors Need?

The average sleep someone requires declines a bit with age. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-8 hours of sleep per night for adults over 65 compared to 7-9 hours for younger adults. So, don’t be surprised if you spend a little less time in bed. But averages don’t reveal much about individuals, so it’s completely normal if you sleep as much as you did before or even if you take advantage of more time in retirement to grab some extra shuteye.


How Sleep Changes as You Age

It’s not just the length of sleep time that shifts as you age. Many older adults begin going to bed earlier and waking earlier. This might mean you need to change your schedule a bit, but it could also afford you a chance to go for a sunrise walk with a friend or play in the garden before it gets too hot each day.

Sleep problems can also become more prevalent. Insomnia tends to increase with age, with 30-48% of older adults experiencing sleep difficulties. This doesn’t mean insomnia is normal, though. In one study, 93% of older adults with insomnia had at least one medical condition that affected their sleep. Insomnia may be both an early warning sign and a result of various medical conditions.

Insomnia can also cause various medical symptoms and make underlying health problems worse. It can cause brain fog and depression and even mimic symptoms of dementia. While it’s normal for your sleep needs to decline a bit with age, if you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or feeling rested, it’s time to see your doctor.


How Sleep Relates to Overall Health

Sleep is vital to well-being at every age. The relationship between sleep and health is bidirectional. This means that poor health can influence sleep, and poor sleep can influence health. If you already have underlying medical conditions, sleeping badly can make them worse. Adults who sleep less than seven hours per night are more likely to report having chronic medical problems, such as heart disease. Chronic conditions can also make your sleep worse, initiating a vicious cycle of worsening health.

Here are some of the many ways sleep can affect health:

  • Heart health: Poor sleep may correlate with a higher rate of heart disease, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
  • Weight management: Low-quality sleep may make it harder to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Immune system: Chronic sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system, making it more difficult to fight off infections.
  • Quality of life: Chronic fatigue can make you feel worse and make it harder to enjoy the activities you love most. Quality sleep ensures you have sufficient energy each day and can help stabilize your mood.
  • Mental health: Quality sleep can reduce anxiety and depression risk, while poor-quality sleep can exacerbate underlying mental health issues. As you age, inadequate sleep may mimic symptoms of dementia.


Tips for Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

Solving sleep problems can be challenging. Sleeping pills aren’t safe for older adults, who are more sensitive to the effects of these pills. Using medication to sleep can increase your risk of addiction, falls and fractures, and car accidents. These drugs stay in your body longer as you age, so even if you used sleeping pills without a problem when you were younger, it may be time to kick the habit.

Despite these dangers, 1 in 3 older adults use sleeping pills. If you’re among them, work with your doctor on a plan to wean yourself off of them. It’s normal to worry that you won’t be able to sleep without them, but most research shows that these medications only very modestly increase the length of sleep.

Making lifestyle changes for better sleep, by contrast, tends to be more effective and offers longer-lasting improvements. Some strategies to try include:

  • Cut back on caffeine, including the caffeine in treats such as chocolate. You don’t necessarily have to ditch your morning cup of joe. Instead, try to limit caffeine to the morning hours only.
  • Exercise during the day. Doing so can help you fall asleep at night and ease anxiety. But avoid working out for at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Establish a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Develop a soothing sleep routine that’s the same every night. You might take a bath and then read or listen to your favorite music.
  • Eliminate daytime naps.
  • Sleep in a cool, dark room on a comfortable bed. Sometimes changing your mattress, bedding or pillows helps. Blackout curtains may also support better sleep.
  • Try a white noise machine to drown out ambient noise.
  • Drink plenty of water during the day, but reduce fluids right before bed so that you don’t need to get up and go to the bathroom.
  • Develop a plan for managing stress. Meditating, talking to a friend, attending support groups, and going to therapy can all make life feel more manageable.
  • Use your bed only for sleep. If you can’t fall asleep after 15-20 minutes, get up and do something else. This helps your brain associate bed with sleep — not restlessness.
  • Ask your doctor if you are taking medications that might trigger insomnia.

If insomnia persists after a week or two of lifestyle changes, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Sleep is a vital ingredient in the recipe for a healthy, happy life. It’s one of many lifestyle choices you can make to feel as good as possible. Being well-rested can supply you with the energy you need to spend more time with the people you love most.

Another critical role in maintaining optimal health is strong relationships. Delve deeper into this connection in our latest guide here.

5 Top Healthcare Tips for Senior Citizens

Stay healthy during the best years of your life!

For many people, their retirement years are some of the best years of their lives.

It’s a time to reflect back on a life well lived and a time to relax and enjoy the rest of it in peace and happiness.

But in order to do that, staying happy and healthy is essential. Taking care of your health is more important now than ever if you want to live out your golden years comfortably.

Following the five tips below can make your retirement years the best they can be.

1. Start Eating Healthy

As our bodies age, our digestive system slows down, which means it’s time to start thinking about whether what we’re putting into our bodies is helpful or harmful.

If you’re not currently eating the right foods, making a change to healthier foods like high-fiber fruits and vegetables or whole grains can make all the difference in how you look and feel.

Eating healthier meals and drinking plenty of water can help you feel invigorated and keep you mentally sharp.

So figure out a meal plan that can help keep you healthy and feeling better throughout your senior years.

2. Think About Applying for Medicare

Investing in a new form of healthcare when planning for retirement is one of the best moves you can make since your lifestyle typically changes drastically during this time.

Medicare is for people 65+ and can help you get the coverage you need to ensure you can get the best healthcare possible.

However, there’s a lot to think about before signing up, which means you should know things like how much it’s going to cost you, when to sign up and how to do it, and what to know if you’re still working.

So, before you reach 65, start looking into Medicare and all of its advantages so you’ll know ahead of time if it’s the right type of health insurance for you.

3. Get Regular Health Screenings

Staying on top of your health means getting regular health screenings to ensure you learn about any illness or disease well before it becomes too serious to deal with.

Make sure you’re going for yearly wellness visits, as well as staying up-to-date on immunizations and other health screenings, such as cancer screenings, and screenings for things like:

  • Obesity
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • High cholesterol
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Osteoporosis
  • Abnormal blood glucose
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar

You should also be screened for mental health, cognitive issues, and substance use.

4. Start Exercising Regularly

As we get older, our bodies become more susceptible to injury and disease.

Physical changes may occur in almost every organ and can take away from your quality of life if you don’t take action to prevent these kinds of things as much as you can.

If you haven’t already, make it a habit to start exercising regularly. That means keeping active in any way that you can.

Consider physical activity, such as walking, cycling, swimming, flexibility and balance exercises, resistance training, and strength training to keep your body in tip-top shape. Plan your activities through an activity calendar.

While we can’t help getting older, we can do more to ensure that we age healthfully. Staying active and fit can help you feel better throughout your golden years.

5. Consider Other Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to getting regular exercise and eating healthy, you should also think about limiting your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking. You might also want to consider things like:

  • Protecting your skin from the sun using sunscreen and moisturizers
  • Brushing and flossing twice daily (as well as going to the dentist regularly)
  • Going to the eye doctor regularly
  • Taking vacations and engaging in social activities
  • Going to a podiatrist (for those with diabetes)
  • Volunteering or going back to work part-time
  • Getting enough sleep

Making lifestyle modifications may not be easy, but they’re worth it if you want to live your best life now.

Take things one day at a time and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t quite get it right the first time.

Making the Right Healthcare Choices

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during your retirement years might be a bit of a challenge, but making the necessary changes can help you feel better as you get older.

From eating healthy and getting regular health screenings to exercising and making lifestyle modifications, you can find ways to get on the path to living your best life throughout your retirement years.

CCRC Retirement Communities and the Benefits of an Entry Fee

What you need to know about CCRC retirement communities and entrance fees

When you begin to research community living options, it’s easy to become inundated with financial details. If you’re unclear about entrance fees when it comes to senior living options, you aren’t alone. Many adults are unclear about what an entrance fee for a retirement community is really for.

It may seem counterintuitive, but entrance fees can ultimately make retirement communities more affordable and provide greater predictability in your month-to-month fees. Here’s what you need to know about entrance fees.

What are entrance fees for retirement communities, and how do they work?

The entrance fee is a sum of money paid upfront to secure a place in the community. This upfront investment can actually lower your monthly fee, which covers services such as maintenance, housekeeping, meals, activities, utilities, and transportation.

Entrance fees at a Life Plan Community (also known as a continuing care retirement community or CCRC) cover the entire continuum of care, so healthy and active seniors can enter the community as part of independent living and, if necessary, move to more advanced levels of care without having to relocate to another community.


Seniors typically encounter two types of entrance fees:

  • Non-refundable entrance fees carry a smaller price tag, but they generally don’t allow money to be returned to a senior or his or her family in the event of a move or death after five years of living in the community.
  • Refundable entrance fees are higher in cost, but a portion of the entrance fee is rebatable. Depending on the type of contract offered at a community, anywhere from 50%-90% of the entrance fee can be returned upon a senior moving or passing away.

At HumanGood communities, rebatable plans come with a roughly 60% price premium, but they allow for estate planning, said Daniel S. Ogus, executive vice president and chief operating officer of HumanGood.

“Refundable plans are there if you want to make sure there’s something left for your heirs,” Ogus said.


Is your retirement community entrance fee tax-deductible?

Whether rebatable or not, entrance fees are based on apartment size, location, view and other residence-specific amenities. Incoming residents generally pay entrance and monthly fees through a combination of savings, income from investments and pension or retirement plans, and proceeds from the sale of a home. Residents generally don’t pay property taxes on their community apartments, and they also qualify for sizable tax breaks on portions of their entrance and monthly fees in retirement communities that provide health care services.

What are the benefits of retirement community entrance fees?

Contrary to what many may think, living in a community with an entrance fee is affordable for almost anyone who’s owned a home, Ogus said. However, seniors who choose a Life Plan Community before they need a higher level of care experience the greatest financial benefits.

Entrance fees offer peace of mind and predictability to adults and their loved ones. In addition, communities that have an entrance fee typically have very low resident turnover. This means that the neighbors you meet when you first move in will likely be your neighbors for a long time, making it even easier to create meaningful relationships with those around you.

Communities with entrance fees are also often excellent stewards of that money. This means that while monthly fees cover daily operations, entrance fees help the community to invest in capital projects and new amenities to keep the community running and looking its best.

Some seniors deemed financially qualified to live in a Life Plan Community still worry about depleting their assets. So, be sure to ask if the community has a benevolence plan. Many communities owned and operated by nonprofits such as HumanGood provide financial assistance to residents who need it if, through no fault of their own, they outlive their financial assets.

What steps do I need to take to see if I can afford a LPC?

If you’re considering making the move to a Life Plan Community, you may have some questions about the costs involved. We’re here to provide you with all the information you need in our comprehensive guide.

Learn more about the financial side of senior living by downloading our free resource, “The Complete Guide to the Costs of Senior Living.” You can discover more information about topics ranging from learning the benefits of a Life Plan Community to understanding monthly fees to interpreting contract types.

What Causes Balance Issues in Older Adults?

According to the National Institute on Aging, balance problems in older adults is a common side effect of aging. Some balance problems can be reduced, but many start suddenly and without apparent cause. However, there are some causes of poor balance in seniors that can be identified and potentially avoided.

While some causes are unavoidable or unclear, there are also some that can be prevented. Read on to learn all about what causes balance problems in older adults and how you can help your loved ones cope.

What Causes Balance Problems in Older Adults?

1. Medication Side Effects

One of the most common causes of poor balance in seniors is the medication they’re taking. There are some drugs that seniors use frequently that can have an adverse effect on their ability to balance properly.

Similar effects are noticeable in patients using antidepressants, sedatives, some anticancer medications, and even some anti-anxiety medications. If you’re wondering what causes balance issues in older adults, talk to your doctor or your loved one’s doctor to understand the effects of the medication and talk about adjusting those medications.

You can also ask about alternatives if you believe medication is the root cause of the balance problems. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about appropriate modifications or alternatives if you believe a medication’s side effects may be impairing their ability to maintain balance.

2. Vision Problems

Age causes a lot of problems for a person, including a lot of visual issues. Cataracts and other age-related macular degeneration are unfortunately common in seniors. All of these illnesses or health impairments can make proper balance incredibly difficult to maintain.

Not only that, but age can weaken the eye muscles. Even if your senior isn’t dealing with any serious eye degenerative diseases, they could be dealing with eye fatigue. This can quickly lead to balance problems for an older adult. If you think this might be the case, encourage your loved one to get the eye help they need. Help them see a specialist who can perform an eye exam to help them get properly treated.

3. Meniere’s Disease

Some diseases cause balance problems in older adults, such as Meniere’s disease, which is an inner ear condition that can cause fullness in the ears and dizziness. This illness not only causes dizziness but can lead to vertigo and even hearing loss in seniors. A low-sodium diet, medication, and balance exercises may all be used to medicate this condition.

As a person ages, it’s important to pay close attention to their health and well-being. It’s normal for some difficulties to occur. Proper attention, assistance, and care can help keep seniors safe when they’re dealing with any type of health issue or disease that’s causing balance problems. In some cases, home care assistance may be the best, most comfortable place for a senior dealing with these struggles.

4. Chronic Conditions

Many chronic health conditions can lead to balance problems in older adults. There is a unique connection between balance issues and diabetes, heart conditions, arthritis, as well as vestibular dysfunction, and many other problems with the inner ear system.

Long-term medical conditions that affect the central nervous system — such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis — can also cause balance issues in older adults. Such challenges could be lessened by helping your loved one manage chronic health issues successfully with proper care and medication.

Seniors with serious health problems could find it challenging to age in place, but there’s no arguing with the fact that seniors can continue to live more comfortable, safe lives with the help of skilled, round-the-clock care. If your loved one is dealing with serious balance issues due to a chronic illness, reach out to New Perspective to talk about our home care options and get help finding the perfect community.

5. Labyrinthitis

Balance can be directly impacted by labyrinthitis, which is a kind of inner ear infection. With this infection, inflammation impairs the flow of nerve signals from the ear to the brain, causing balance issues to occur. Because this infection is linked to the flu which older people are more likely to contract, it’s common among seniors.

Blood and hearing tests are frequently used to diagnose labyrinthitis, but proper medication and medical efforts can be used to slow down the infection and treat the condition. If a senior recently had the flu and is showing signs of balance issues, consider getting them checked for an ear infection.

Tips to Prevent Balance Issues in Older Adults

Though you can’t control every variable that causes balance issues, there are some ways you can potentially prevent them or reduce their impact. Please note: it’s important to talk to a doctor before starting any new exercise or balance program.

  1. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can improve balance, coordination, and strength.
  2. Work on balance exercises: Specific exercises like tai chi, yoga, and balance exercises can help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.
  3. Wear supportive shoes: Wear shoes that have good arch support, a non-slip sole, and a low heel to help maintain stability.
  4. Remove tripping hazards: Keep walkways clear of cords, loose rugs, and other tripping hazards.
  5. Improve lighting: Make sure rooms are well-lit and use night lights in the bathroom and hallway to help prevent falls.
  6. Use assistive devices: Canes, walkers, and other assistive devices can provide support and improve balance.
  7. Review medications: Some medications can cause dizziness or impair balance. Discuss with a doctor to see if any changes can be made.
  8. Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause dizziness, so it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  9. Keep a healthy diet: A diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help improve balance and overall health.

Facing Loneliness As You Get Older: Tips to Alleviate Senior Loneliness and Depression

Older adults are often at risk of loneliness because of disruptions to their social networks over time.

Human beings are social by nature; they thrive on meaningful social interactions with others. This is no different for older adults.

Older adults, however, are often at risk of loneliness because of disruptions to their social networks over time.

For example:

  • their children may move to another city or country to find work
  • grandchildren get older and become more involved in school and activities with friends
  • spouses and friends may become ill or pass away
  • retirement can reduce or put an end to workplace relationships
  • personal disability, sensory loss or illness may prevent them from participating in the activities with others that they used to enjoy
  • Some older individuals are no longer able to stay in their own homes or familiar surroundings; they lose connections with friends and neighbors as a result.

Tips for seniors to keep loneliness at bay:

Try to create opportunities for meaningful contact with other people.

Nurture at least one close relationship with family or friends (where you feel emotionally connected and supported and can trust and confide in the other person).

Don’t put all your eggs in one (or even two) baskets; try to develop a network of friends and family rather than depending on only one or two.

Consider joining groups or participating in activities with others who share common interests.

Remember, interactions with others don’t have to be face-to-face to be meaningful—stay in touch with family and friends using other methods such as telephone, letters, or e-mail.

Spend time with a pet, or consider getting one if you don’t already have one. Keep in mind that taking care of a pet is a big responsibility and commitment. The benefits of having a pet for people living alone have been well documented, however.

Consider ‘joining a group to plan, shop, and cook…’ meals or eating out rather than eating alone.

Explore the volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood or city. Reaching out to help others who are in need or who are lonely can help prevent you from getting lonely.

Maintain connections with your spiritual community or consider becoming involved in one if this feels right for you.

Take a young person under your wing to help them learn and grow.

Look into housing options that allow for more contact with others.

Consider going back to school.

Join a fitness class that is appropriate for your level of physical ability.

Is it depression?

If you’re feeling lonely yet find it difficult to get out and get involved with others, ask yourself if you might be suffering from depression.

Depression can rob people of their desire to do the things they used to enjoy and keep them from participating in life to the fullest. Don’t suffer in silence; see Depression for more information about depression and what can be done to treat it.

If you have difficulty developing and maintaining positive relationships with others, take some steps to learn more about effective communication skills by reading, taking courses, or seeing a counselor.

4 Home Exercises for Senior Citizens to Keep at Home

Most of us are gravely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially our senior citizens. We are all struggling to cope with the new normal, where authorities set many restrictions as we try to flatten the curve.

The World Health Organization has encouraged everyone to stay at home to avoid getting infected by the virus.

Our seniors are more prone to get infected due to weaker immune systems or underlying health conditions. Now that there are restrictions for our seniors to stay inside their homes, they must find a way to keep fit during the pandemic.

If you are a senior, here are some home exercises that you can do to stay healthy:

Start Slowly

It would be better if you knew your limits when doing exercises so that you know when to stop and when you can keep pushing.

Remember to be gradual and take things slowly when going beyond what you’re used to. If you feel any pain or lightheadedness, stop what you are doing and hydrate.

Remember also that you will feel soreness in joints and muscles after a couple of days of exercise.

1. Chair Squats

Chair squats will help strengthen your lower body, joints, and bones.

Here’s how to do it:

  • In front of a chair, stand straight with feet apart.
  • Bend your knees, but keep your chest and shoulders upright.
  • Slowly lower your bottom for about four seconds until you are seated.
  • Then stand up straight again for two to four seconds.
  • Avoid using your hands unless you still need a guide.
  • Do this exercise five to ten times for a time of 20 to 60 seconds.
  • Repeat the routine two to five times.
  • If you feel that you cannot do this exercise, try to bend your legs little by little until you can do the full workout.

2. Single-Leg Stands

The stork, or single leg stands, helps in improving bone strength and balance.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand facing a stable chair.
  • Do a slow march for warm-ups in about one minute while slowly lifting your knees higher.
  • With both arms at your side, lift your right foot and try to balance it on top of your left foot for about ten seconds.
  • Repeat by switching right to the left foot.
  • Do the exercise for about five seconds.
  • Repeat three to five times for both legs.

3. Wall Snow Angels

Doing wall snow angel exercises helps in improving strength, mobility, and posture.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a blank wall in your area, then stand with your upper back, heels, bum, and head against it.
  • Point your hands to your side with palms facing outwards.
  • Slowly raise your hands above your head, stretched wide apart. Do not lose contact with the wall.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat this exercise two to three times.

4. Rotations

This exercise will improve your back mobility and upper body strength.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Get a broom as your prop, and hold it horizontally behind your head. Stand with your feet wide apart, and slightly bend your knees.
  • You may use your hands by holding them up at 90 degrees.
  • Turn to your right, twisting your hips while you keep the broom straight.
  • Please return to the center then repeat it to your left side.
  • You may repeat this exercise two to five times.

More Exercises

There are plenty more exercises for our seniors such as wall push-ups (improve your upper body strength, and bone mineral density, overhead lifts (strengthen your upper body strength), and stair stepping (helps in improving aerobic fitness, lower body strength, and coordination.)

Now that you are familiar with these exercises, you need to find the motivation to do it.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, you can visit pain management centers to get immediate relief.

Remember to always keep fit and healthy to defend yourself against the virus.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Elderly Parents Safe and Healthy at Home

Being able to still have one’s parents around during their golden years is a blessing in and of itself. Our folks work hard all their lives to provide for us, their families, so one could only hope for long and happy years for them beyond their retirement.

While each one of them may choose different living arrangements for themselves when they reach an advanced age, it is important to make sure that they are safe, comfortable, and healthy, no matter if they end up living alone, with the rest of your family, in a nursing home facility, or in an assisted living community.

If they happen to live at home with you, however, you need to be able to create an environment that is conducive to a good quality of life.

This short guide will provide valuable tips that will help ensure the safety and well-being of your elderly parents or loved ones.

1. Be Cognizant of the Kind of Care You Need to Provide

Before you can really begin to see the big picture of what caring for your elderly parent entails, you first need to understand the minutiae of it. Be objective with identifying the kind of care that they need and be realistic about what you can really do as their caregiver or guardian.

Is your parent quite healthy for their age? Are they mobile, and can do things on their own? If not, do they have a medical condition that affects their quality of life and entails round-the-clock care?

If you have a day job and you also have to provide for your children, you might have to hire another person who can serve as their primary caregiver.

Be sure that the individual you are hiring is trained, experienced, and adheres to the highest standards of hygiene and health safety.

You might ask why use an antimicrobial mask when a caregiver is interacting with your parents, for example, but in this age of a pandemic, you really can’t be too careful – especially if the carer does not live in your household.

Finally, if your parents are able to make decisions, it’s important to make sure to involve them in the process of planning for their care.

2. Protect Them from Slip and Fall Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four adults aged 65 and older suffer from slip and fall injuries each year, causing more than 28,000 deaths, upwards of 800,000 hospitalizations, and 3 million emergency department visits annually.

It’s important to redesign your home to lessen the likelihood of slips and falls. First, make sure to clear floors and hallways of any objects they can trip over.

Secondly, remove small throw rugs and tack down bigger ones with double-sided tapes or tack strips.

Finally, make sure to use non-slip mats inside bathrooms while also installing grab bars, especially around the toilet and bathtub areas.

It’s also a good idea to let your elderly parents wear non-slip slippers and to make sure they’re not walking around in socks.

3. Make Sure They Are Taking Their Medicines Properly

Is your elderly parent solely responsible for managing the medicines they take on a daily basis? Are they visiting multiple doctors who individually prescribe medicines to them? If so, you might want to keep a closer look at how they take all those drugs.

According to the CDC, seniors aged 65 and above visit emergency departments almost 450,000 times every year due to adverse drug events, which happen when elderly individuals are harmed by medicines.

Adverse drug events can involve various scenarios, including unintentional overdoses, dosing errors, drug overlaps and duplicate medications, missed medications, and drug interactions.

To prevent adverse drug events, make sure that you also completely understand your elderly loved one’s medication regimen. Make a list of the drugs they are currently taking, and tag along the next time they consult their doctors or buy medicines at the pharmacy.

You have to make certain that there are no overlaps in the medicines they are taking and also to ensure that they are buying the right medicines in the first place.

5. Encourage Them to Exercise

Because seniors are less physically active than younger people on average, many of them fall into the trap of neglecting their physical fitness.

However, regular exercise, as you may already know, is actually critical to healthy aging.

Sitting less and moving more can prevent the development of many diseases, in addition to helping improve mental health and cognition, reducing the likelihood of slip and fall accidents, and strengthening social connections if their activities involve interaction with other people.

According to the CDC, if an elderly individual has no chronic conditions that prevent them from getting exercise, they should be as physically active as their situation allows.

An example would be getting 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) every day.

Another way is by combining vigorous-intensity aerobic activity with muscle-strengthening activities weekly.

For example, the senior could jog or run 75 minutes once a week and exercise major muscle groups like the chest, abdomen, hips, back, legs, shoulders, and arms twice a week.

6. Keep Their Minds Active

On top of their physical health, you should also help your elderly parents maintain their cognitive health. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes cognitive health as “the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember.

It is already known that regular physical activity can help in this area of aging, with studies showing how exercise helps maintain old neural connections in the brain while also increasing the size of brain components that are critical to learning, memory retention, and spatial awareness.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is also important in preventing cognitive decline later in life. Empirical studies have shown that maintaining a systolic blood pressure below a reading of 140 can minimize mild cognitive impairment, which can influence the development of dementia.

On top of these, the NIH also recommends encouraging seniors to keep their minds active and to participate in social pursuits. Engaging in cognitively demanding hobbies such as reading, quilting, playing games, and doing photography can help improve memory retention.

On the other hand, engaging in personally meaningful activities with other people can improve seniors’ quality of life by boosting their mood, making them feel happier, and giving them a sense of purpose.

Considering Moving to a Senior Living Community? 4 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

The real estate market is hot right now, with soaring home costs and massive growth across most neighborhoods in the United States. Even a small starter house may now be worth much more than you paid for it. Housing prices increased by nearly 50% between 2010 and 2020 and continue to grow. That’s great news if you are planning to sell your house.

Getting your home ready to sell is one of the biggest items to check off of your to-do list before moving to a HumanGood Life Plan Community. It’s also an opportunity to turn a significant profit, but only if you’re fully prepared.

These tips for selling your home can make the process as pain-free as possible while optimizing the potential value of the sale.


Find the right real estate agent.

A real estate agent handles all of the promotion, paperwork, negotiations, and other challenging aspects of selling a home. They can work with the buyer’s agent, offer tips for selling your home, and help set reasonable pricing expectations. This reduces the workload involved in selling and means you don’t have to become an expert on housing and finance before you move.

A “good” real estate agent may not be good enough, though. You need someone who understands the market in your area and your needs. Some things to look for include:

  • Someone who regularly sells houses in your neighborhood.
  • Someone who works primarily as a real estate agent — not someone for whom this is a part-time job.
  • A person who has experience working with older adults intending to move.
  • Someone you like. Good communication is key, and you’re going to be talking a lot with this person.

Be sure to ask for references and to trust your gut. Ideally, you should interview several real estate agents before hiring one. The community you’re moving to will likely have well-vetted referrals for you to start with. And don’t shy away from asking pointed questions about pricing and marketing; a good real estate agent should be able to give it to you straight.


Consider repairs or upgrades.

Most buyers want a contemporary, clean home that is move-in ready. Making upgrades and repairs often increases the value of your home immensely — by much more than the cost of the repairs. But before you invest in a big home improvement project, be sure to talk to your real estate agent about what buyers are seeking, then look at your budget. If buyers in your area are eager to move into a fixer-upper, repairs may not be worth the expense.


Declutter and rightsize.

Moving is the ideal time to build a space that is perfect for your current lifestyle — not the person you were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Take some time to reflect on your ideal space. How does it look? How does it feel? What do you want around you, and where do you want to go?

Decluttering can help you ensure your space matches your current needs. Consider simplifying as much as possible. After all, fewer items mean less time spent cleaning and more opportunities to enjoy whatever comes next.

Some people find it emotionally challenging to declutter. Remember that your legacy is not a bunch of stuff, and the memories reside within you, not in a pile of old objects you can’t find a place to store. Try making a memory box or trunk. Or if you have a number of sentimental pieces you truly can’t part with, consider either giving them to a family member, keeping them in storage or converting to digital photos so you can look at these mementos whenever you like.


Stage your home.

One of the most important aspects of getting your home ready to sell is making it easy for buyers to picture themselves in your place. In most cases, even the most beautiful home could use some enhancements. Creating a neutral look and removing clutter and unnecessary decor and furniture can open the eyes of potential buyers. And don’t forget about curb appeal — it’s amazing what attractive landscaping can do!

But the market varies from place to place, so don’t undertake a massive staging project without first talking to your real estate agent. A local expert is a font of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in your neck of the woods.


Prepare to sell your home: A step toward shaping your future.

Downsizing can be tough, and selling your home requires some work. But keep your eye on the prize: a more joyful, less cluttered life. With the right support and by following these tips for selling your home, you’ll get there in no time.

Want to learn more about living your best life? Check out our free e-book on the importance of relationships today.