Does MOVING to a Senior Living Community Feel Like a STORM?

Does MOVING to a Senior Living Community Feel Like a STORM?

We all go through storms!

We all go through storms!

We all have storms in our lives. Maybe the storm is a death, sickness, or major life crisis. It could even be one of Mother Nature’s storms such as hurricane, tornado or earthquake. You or a senior you know may be going through a storm at this moment.

At some point the storm always ends. There is peace and calmness again. No one is the same after one of life’s storms. The length of the storm will most likely determine the amount of wisdom gained. One of my best friends is a breast cancer survivor. Now she uses the knowledge of her successful treatments and faith to help others. She can make someone elses cancer journey less scary. What a gift!

As retirement counselors in senior living and housing, we can provide that gift of knowledge to a senior considering a move. A senior may feel like they are in a storm processing a major life move to your community. Being pulled toward the benefits of living in a retirement community and simultaneously being drawn back to the security of their home can create conflict for a senior.

Here are a few tips:

First, a retirement counselor needs to acknowledge that a senior is facing an emotional decision (the storm). The decision is to plan ahead or wait until a health care crisis.

Second, if a senior chooses to wait until a health crisis they will be forcing their adult children to eventually “put them someplace” (bigger storm). Many seniors don’t realize this truth. Seniors are typically shocked to learn they will have a 66% chance of needing a higher level of care at some point like assisted living or skilled nursing care.

Third, if a senior moves into a senior living community that transitions them into higher levels of care like assisted living and skilled nursing care, it is a proactive choice to plan ahead (smaller storm for the senior and the family in the future).

Retirement counselors in senior housing should focus on educating seniors about their future health care choices and how your retirement community can be a solution.

If you have ever felt slightly sick standing on the deck of a boat in the ocean, the captain always tells you to look toward the horizon. Don’t focus on the waves that are swirling close around you. Look beyond to the distant skyline. Seniors need to visualize what they are gaining by making a move and planning ahead for their future care. Others can’t get past the overwhelming thought of the turmoil that moving will create for them.

The calm after a storm is usually filled with a sense of peace and wisdom.

Planning ahead could be the greatest gift a senior can give their children. When my mom moved into a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Seattle, WA, it was the smartest decision she ever made. Thank you mom!

How do you help educate seniors?  What tips can you share?

“Your Senior Housing Options,” has a simplistic title, but what’s inside this new book can save a you months of research time.  Hear Diane Masson’s interview of how her mother and in-law’s faced the pivotal decision to plan ahead or wait until a crisis.  Learn the pitfalls from transitioning from your home to senior housing.  Understand what questions to ask, insider tips and dirty secrets revealed.  The decision to stay home requires caregivers.  Prevent elder abuse by determining if a home care agency is reputable, before they move into your home.  You are just not looking for today’s needs, but for your future care.  Discover key differences between rental facilities vs Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  Do you have enough financial resources if you need to be in a higher level of care for an extended period of time?  For weekly tips join at: Www.Tips2Seniors.com 

Diane Masson has worked in senior housing for 17 years and is the regional marketing director for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern CA (Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet).  Her first book “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” is being utilized by senior housing professionals across the country.  Both her first book and second book, “Your Senior Housing Options,” have a 5-star rating on Amazon.com.

How To Move Someone Saying, “No!”

How To Move Someone Saying, “No!”

no-mdIt would be very interesting for independent, assisted living and group homes to share examples of people who moved into your senior living community who initially said, “No, I don’t want to leave my home!”  How many senior living residents have you experienced in this situation?

Two weeks ago, I heard the story of an independent couple whose Boomer children moved them one hour closer to them.  The dad said that he had left heel marks all the way up the freeway, because he didn’t want to move.  Now, both he and his wife love living at their new Continuing Care Retirement Community that is located by their children and grandchildren.

Tonight, I heard about Jim and Joan’s dad.  He was clinically depressed and stayed in his pajamas all day.   He only put on clothes when Jim picked him up (drove him one block) to spend time with his wife and grandchildren.  Once his dad, Dwayne, got to their house and had dinner, he didn’t want to leave, even at 11:00 PM.  Jim and his wife Carol both had to be at work at 7:00 AM.  They literally had to take a resistant Dwayne back to his home each evening.  This went on every night for one year.  Jim finally reached the breaking point.

Jim and his sister Joan went to find a retirement community for their dad.  They had it all set up and then drove their dad to his new home.  The entire way there, Dwayne kept saying, “No, no, no!”  They said, “Dad, you will love it, give it a chance.”  They showed him his new home and he was still resistant.  Jim kept saying, “Dad, give it a chance,” and left.  Two weeks later the dad was happier than he had been in his own isolated home.  Dwayne spent five of the happiest years of his life there.  Medication management and socialization had improved the quality of his life.

Nine years ago, my own mom was struggling (for over a year) in the independent living area of a Continuing Care Retirement Community.   My sister, husband and I moved all my mom’s stuff to assisted living while her granddaughter took her to lunch.  My daughter drove my mom back to her new home in assisted living.  We were all there to greet them.  My mom was shocked, but what could she do?  We had moved her.  It was done.  The staff was all on board and had acclimated her before we left.  Oh, the guilt I felt, but knew it was the right thing for her.  We got a call in the night, because my mom had peed in a garbage can.  Was it defiance or dementia?  We will never know, but two weeks later she was happy and content.   She steadily improved with three nutritious meals a day and medication management.  My mom enjoyed seven years in that supportive environment.

Is it mean to move someone saying no?  Or is it the best thing in the world?

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

 

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Moving A Lifetime of Memories (Part 2)

Moving A Lifetime of Memories (Part 2)

They Moved And Placed Everything Except The Cat!

They Moved And Placed Everything Except The Cat!

Easiest move ever?  Yes!!!  It was a picture perfect move thanks to a senior friendly company called Helping Hands in California.  They literally pulled out their smart phones and snapped “before pictures.”  Then in the new home each mover referenced their smart phones to recreate a room, a bookcase or any area that had knick-knacks.  Moving a Lifetime of Memories (Part 1) is about my decision to hire a senior moving company.

An army of men arrived at 9:00 AM and the move went so fast.  The same person that packed up the kitchen unpacked and organized the kitchen in our new home.  This one fact alone was awesome and took tremendous stress off of me.  The same mover that packed up the bathroom reorganized it in the new bathroom.  It was amazing.

Here is the completion level of each room on the day of the move:

  • The kitchen is 100% done (just need to buy groceries and we are ready to cook).
  • Living room is 100% done (including pictures on the wall).
  • Dining room is 100% done (including pictures on the wall).
  • The master bath is 100% done (everything is in it’s place).
  • Office/music room is 95% done (books on the book shelves, pictures hung and still need to rightsize the closets a bit more).
  • Coat and towel closet are 100% done.
  • Master bedroom is 90% done (still need to reorganize the clothes hanging in the closet, buy two lamps and figure out what pictures to hang).
  • Second bathroom is 0% done (only two boxes to unpack, because our two cats were crated in this room during the move).
  • The garage is 50% done (all the garage stuff is in the garage, but we could not have the team of men put everything away because the garage was too dirty).

Our biggest move challenges?

  • Downsizing in general, so I focused on rightsizing.  It was easier to stomach rightsizing.  It is an attitude.
  • Arriving the day of the move to find a dirty garage with stuff left from the previous owner.
  • Realizing our master bedroom has zero light.

The good news is that I loved Helping Hands, because instead of months to settle into my home, I am already settled.  It should just take a couple of days to go buy lamps and then clean and organize the garage.

I highly recommend this senior moving company and this type of service for seniors moving into retirement communities.  Yes, it does cost more than two man and a truck, but it can literally take the stress away from moving.

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Moving a Lifetime of Memories (Part 1)

Moving a Lifetime of Memories (Part 1)

MovingEight months ago, I shared the journey of moving my mom 1000 miles to live in a skilled nursing community near me.  Now, here is my journey of walking in a prospective senior resident’s shoes and moving – TODAY!

What’s it like for a senior to move 30, 40 or 50 years worth of memories?  Is it unsettling, heart wrenching, stressful and terrifying for a senior?  My husband and I are moving today after living in a beautiful home for only two years and it feels disruptive, daunting and time consuming.

Who likes moving?  It’s anticipating or dreading that I will have temporarily or permanent lost items for months.  Plus it can take months to settle in, hang pictures on the wall and start to feel like OUR home.

Most people do not like change.  It ‘s easier to just stay where you are and keep the status quo.

Well, since we have to move, I decided to try a new method that we recommend to our clients at a Continuing Care Retirement Community called Freedom Village.  I hired a senior moving company, who will literally take our pictures off the wall, pack all our belongings, move us, unpack everything and put the pictures back up on the walls.  If we recommend this service to clients, why not see what it is really like ourselves?

Maybe it won’t be as daunting and time consuming as when my husband and I used to hire two men and a truck?

It will be a two-day move.  The senior moving company called Helping Hands will take about three hours to pack us up on the first day and the next day they will move all our belongings and unpack us.

Next week, I will share the rest of the story in part two and we will see how easy or painful moving day is and how long it took to settle into our new home.

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.

 

 

Moving My Mom 1000 Miles From Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing Care (Part 2)

Moving My Mom 1000 Miles From Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing Care (Part 2)

When my mom asked where we were going - I kept saying to lunch...

Every time she asked where we were going, I said to lunch.

Organizing a move of this magnitude is a pile of paperwork combined with a daughter’s worry of every possible outcome going wrong.

The long story short is it took my husband Chris and I, seven hours to move my mom with vascular dementia 1000 miles.  Is it the best thing for her – yes!  Did it almost kill me – yes!  But there were blessings along the way including moments and memories of complete clarity that I will always treasure. I still see my mom in my minds eyes as her former mentally astute self, but now she can’t remember what she had for breakfast.  Why I am moving my mom is shared in Part 1.

My Mom’s Moving Day

I had a 50/50 chance that she would be having a good day, when we arrived at her assisted living community for the move – it was a BAD day for her.  She was anxious, hungry and wandering around for some attention.  I talked to a caregiver and took her to breakfast in the dining room as my husband packed her suitcases.  The goal was for her not to be stressed out about moving and we accomplished that goal.

Two days before the move, we had organized her entire room and decided what we were taking, what had to be shipped separately and what was going to goodwill.  She never knew, because we took turns with her.

On the way back from breakfast, my mom sensed that something was up.  When four people were outside her door, she asked why.  They scattered and a caregiver gave the morning medications to her.  While she was eating we had gathered all her medications, personal affects and created a special bag to handle incontinence on the way – which was my greatest worry.

She didn’t want to get in the car, but Chris and I coaxed her in.  The drive to the SeaTac Airport was enjoyable for her.  My friend Stephen was the driver and he was wonderful with my mom.  The arrival at the airport with the hustle and bustle created immediate anxiety for her.  She thought that she was seeing Chris and I off and wondered when she would see us again. Chris said, that she was coming with us.  She said that she would not get on a plane.  Oh boy…thank goodness for anti-anxiety medications.

Getting through security was crazy, my mom’s bag beeped because of liquid medications.  So one of us had to be tested for bomb residue on our hands.  We all got separated, bags were being retested for bombs and my mom was all-alone for 3 minutes.  They ended up testing her for bomb residue – seriously!!?!  Then we headed out to the gate.

I ran to get lunch, because I had promised my mom Ivar’s fish and chips.  Every time she asked where we were going, I said to lunch.  She would immediately calm down.

We were wheeling her onto the plane and just as they were transferring her to another wheel chair to take her down the aisle, she announced that she needed to use the restroom.  I just wanted to get her on the plane, but we had to go back to the concourse and use the family restroom.  There was – of course – a wait for it.  We took care of my mom and I thought we would miss the plane, but a security breach had happened and we had to wait another 30 minutes to board.  All our bags, my mom’s medications and the lunch were on the plane.

When we finally got on the plane and I said we were having lunch.  My mom said her first funny, “Are you just saying we are having lunch or are we really having lunch?”  I laughed and pulled out the fish and chips.  We really had a great time on the plane, she knew she was on a plane and said she was having fun.  I brought family pictures for her to look at and a stuffed bear to hold.

My mom slowly processed the move on the plane.   She was excited about going to California and remembered being born there and going to college at UCLA.  She was happy, calm and smiling…

My mom was fantastic and the incontinence was not an issue, even after we landed – whew… The Freedom Village driver picked us up and we took her to her new home at the Freedom Village Healthcare Center.  In a week or two, I will describe the transition…

Please comment to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com.  Masson’s book will be required reading at George Mason University in the Fall as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with Seniors For Living and two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Connection and partnership opportunities: Email: diane@marketing2seniors.net

Moving Mom 1000 Miles – Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing

Moving Mom 1000 Miles – Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing

Diane and her Mother

Diane and her Mother

Well, it is a complicated process moving a parent from an assisted living to skilled nursing.  Add 1000 miles into the equation and prepare for asking a tremendous amount of favors and help with no physical eyes on the situation. This is my story…

My mom has lived in a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Seattle, WA for 15 years.  For the past 7 years, she has lived in Assisted Living.  Her ailments have progressed to diabetes, severe vascular dementia, incontinence and now all symptoms indicate breast cancer.  Short-term memory loss and 90 years of age does not equate to any invasive procedures or surgeries.  When I visit her one-day, she has no memory of my visit the next day.

I could not stomach her completely alone (no children in the same state) and moving to the next level of care or a hospice community.  So my husband and I decided to quickly move her to Southern, CA, before she could not travel anymore.

All professionals who know my mom and I have been very supportive of this move.  Here are some of things that had to be put in place for this transition: Coordinating with the assisted living team where she lives, a nurse consultant to assess her and be our eyes in another state, her doctor, a home healthcare agency to take her to the doctor, the social worker at the HMO, the skilled nursing community that she was moving to, the federal government regarding her medical insurance and a Medicare representative.

The paperwork and logistics included filling out 27 pages of a Medi-Cal application, finding 22 additional documents for Medi-Cal, providing all the information that the new skilled nursing required, buying plane tickets, combining all our plane seats into one row, having someone drive my mom and us to the airport in Seattle and having Freedom Village Skilled Nursing pick us up at the airport when we arrive in California – whew!!!!

My mom does not know that she is going to move, because she cannot mentally process anything beyond 30 seconds in the short term and it would create anxiety for her – not understanding.

I am going to continue sharing my story as this moves takes place over the next few days.  Prayers and patience are needed to survive this.  I am excited for my mom to be located by our family in California and terrified of travel day.  I am her protector and don’t want her to suffer in anyway emotionally or physically.  It’s thrilling that my company in California is welcoming my mom with open arms – thank you Freedom Village.

Please comment to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com.  Masson’s book will be required reading at George Mason University in the Fall as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with Seniors For Living and two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Connection and partnership opportunities: Email: diane@marketing2seniors.net