The financial planner book is here!

Today, my new book is out!

Financial Planner Cover 400 x 640

You can order it on Amazon (Kindle Edition, Print Edition).  Here’s the official summary:

Continuing care retirement communities (called “CCRCs” by industry insiders) are retirement communities that offer multiple living options (independent living, assisted living, and nursing). In exchange for an entrance fee and ongoing monthly fees, CCRC’s agree to care for residents for the rest of their lives.

Written by a former senior housing consultant, “The Financial & Estate Planner’s Guide to Continuing Care Retirement Communities” is a planner’s overview of the popular senior housing product. The book shows you:

– What services are offered for seniors
– How to find communities in your area
– How to conduct online searches for community information
– How to read resident contracts and community disclosure statements
– How to value CCRC contracts and analyze benefits
– Why some communities go bankrupt
– Some warning signs for potential residents of CCRCs

The book also includes several sample pages for client planning sessions and an introduction to the Microsoft Excel formulas used to create the book’s analyses.

Your client deserves the best advice when choosing his/her retirement community. “The Financial & Estate Planner’s Guide to Continuing Care Retirement Communities” will walk you through the entire process in simple, easy-to-understand language!

Note: There is significant overlap between this book and “Continuing Care Retirement Communities: An Insider Tells All.” If you prefer a less technical explanation of senior housing, you might select this edition instead.

You can also follow Senior Housing Move on Facebook.  Email me at virginia@seniorhousingmove.com if you’ve got any questions!

Livable Communities of the Future

Note: This post originally appeared at AlexisAbramson.com. If you’re interested in providing articles for SeniorHousingMove.com, please see our submission guidelines.

Alexis Abramson, PhD

Dr. Alexis

As our society moves towards more sustainable living practices, one trend that will benefit people as they age is the increased availability of livable communities where convenience and socializing are built-in luxuries.  Hopefully, as we continue to upgrade our neighborhoods they will be universally designed to be more aesthetically pleasing and accessible for all. Features such as safer, barrier-free buildings, parks and streets will make neighborhoods easy to navigate for both an 80-something senior with a walker and a 20-something mom pushing a stroller!

“While some streets do provide a safe pedestrian environment, it may not be a pleasant one; the absence of benches, scarce landscaping, and storefronts set back from the sidewalk do little to encourage walking” writes the advocacy group Smart Growth America.  Well-planned livable communities, for all intents and purposes, allow one the benefit of living in a city without the stress of high-crime rates, run down buildings, streets without sufficient lighting, etc.

Furthermore, successful livable communities have organized activities to promote intergenerational interactions, such as reading programs where older adults are paired with young people through the public library system.  Without a doubt, closer-knit communities also offer more spontaneous moments to enjoy activities such as musical performances, farmers markets with local produce and lively streets lined with outdoor dining choices.

One thing to remember is that with increased  socialization and independence comes the need to make sure you surround yourself with products and services that allow for constant personal independence. A folding cane is good to keep with you in case you feel the need for a bit of extra assistance while walking the streets of the neighborhood. Purchasing an all-in-one telephone and safety device such as the VTech CareLineTM system can help make sure you communicate and stay connected with your family members. Also, a full page magnifying reader to assist you as you tackle the morning paper can be quite helpful in reading small print size. These are all great devices to add to the enjoyment of a livable environment.

As our population continues to age, better access to healthcare is also a key feature offered in this type of living.  If older adults can easily get to their medical providers by themselves, they will feel empowered by not having to continually rely on others for routine health matters.  Also, with respect to health, there is no debate that livable (and walk-able) communities make it easier to integrate exercise into daily living. Yoga and meditation in the park, community swimming pools, and simply not getting in a car as much will do wonders for your overall physical self.

Partners for Livable Communities is a group that promotes invigorating activities with its overall central focus on basic good living, especially through cultural outlets. Dance, theater, writing and painting are just some of the outlets they recommend we all embrace as we age. As a part of my 30 Bonus Years initiative, I also highly encourage people to explore activities they didn’t have a chance to take on earlier in life.  I firmly believe livable communities promote a sense of engagement – clearly a critical component to fully embracing your later years.

I recently had the opportunity to be featured in a PSA supporting livable communities that was presented at the National Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. The goal was to showcase the importance of creating environments that are more user-friendly for all members of our society – regardless of age!  In order to produce the infrastructure needed to support more livable communities, numerous task forces and initiatives have been formed. These policymakers realize that the need for livable communities is not a generational issue, it simply makes good sense for the future of America.

MetLife, in collaboration with Stanford University, recently released a study citing Livable Community Indicators, mentioning a wide range of bustling metropolises and university towns working toward creating age-friendly environments. The takeaway here is to choose a place where there is accessible healthcare, solid employment/retirement opportunities, cultural outlets and a strong community of engagement.  As the Internet and technology have made us a more distant society, choosing to live in a sustainable, livable community enables us to connect with people face-to-face, one of the healthiest forms of interaction we can enjoy!

Disclaimer:  Content and suggestions provided within should not be construed as a formal recommendation and AJA Associates, LLC makes no representations, endorsements or warranties relating to the accuracy, use or completeness of the information.

ALEXIS ABRAMSON, Ph.D. is cited as America’s leading, impassioned champion for the dignity and independence of those over 50. Abramson is the author of two 
highly acclaimed books – The Caregivers 
Survival Handbook and Home Safety for Seniors.  For more information go to www.alexisabramson.com.

Test Drive a CCRC by Staying in their Guest Rooms

In case you missed it the first time, here are some tips about previewing a CCRC:

I’ve seen retirement communities all over the country, but I never really got a chance to stay in one until my last year on the job.  Our client was trying to save money, and they asked that my company’s consultants stay in their guest rooms rather than a local hotel.

Almost all retirement communities have at least one guest room.  These furnished apartments are usually located adjacent to actual residents and offer the same amenities that any other apartment might offer.  These apartments serve as guest room rentals for residents that have guests who stay overnight.

Although it’s not common, some communities will advertise their guest room as an enticement to potential residents.  Even if they don’t, you can ask to “test drive” the community by staying in one of the guest rooms.  I highly recommend it; my one visit to a retirement community where I stayed in the guest room proved enlightening.

For one, I learned the sorts of sounds that the building made at night.  I made peace with the air conditioning and its cycles.  I also noticed that the streetlight next to my window was unbearably bright.  I ended up hanging a towel over the blinds.

By staying in the apartment, I also got to sample the breakfast menu and meet some of the residents.  I saw the housekeeping staff and introduced myself.  I also learned how to turn the shower knob to just the right temperature.  I also learned whom to call when I had problems with my apartment.

My visit was relatively pleasant, but my colleagues shared different stories.  The worst that I recall was a woman who awoke with what appeared to be bed bug bites after staying in one guest room.  On the other hand, another colleague spend an entire year living on assignment in a retirement community without incident.

There’s no better way to get to know a community than spending time there. Especially for communities that already have a guest room in service, letting potential residents stay the night is an excellent way to advertise the benefits of retirement living!

Financial skills & dementia, rural villages, aggression & dementia, and caregivers in America

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Slipping financial skills may be the first sign of dementia.

If you live in a rural area, you might be able to join a “rural village” to help care for some of your needs.

Aggression and dementia can be a difficult combination.

40% of adults in America care for a sick elderly relative.

Calculator” © 2011 Images Money, Attribution 3.0 Generic http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Disabilities, signing up for Medicare, self-neglect, and nontraditional retirement

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Almost everyone will suffer from sort of disability in his/her lifetime, especially late in life.

A Boomer talks about the difficulty of signing up for Medicare.

How do you help people who don’t want help?  Self neglect is a growing problem for seniors living on their own.

Retirement living is expanding beyond traditional retirement communities.

“Human Walking Care” © 2011 Abdulsalam Haykal, Attribution 3.0 Generic http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Caring for the Caregiver

Note: This post originally appeared at AlexisAbramson.com. If you’re interested in providing articles for SeniorHousingMove.com, please see our submission guidelines.

Alexis Abramson, PhD

Dr. Alexis

Being the primary caregiver for an older loved one is tough, and expectations are frequently quite high. With that said, there are ways to relieve some of the stress, and much of it revolves around a shift in your mindset. After all, each of us can only do so much before we simply break down! One of the keys to success for maintaining a positive caregiver lifestyle is to take time away from your responsibilities and make time for yourself. Truly try to be “in the moment” and simply enjoy a hobby or other activity that allows you to lose yourself and just let go.

Even if you have the best caregiver support system, on many occasions the needs of your loved ones will become incredibly demanding (at least that’s how it feels). By taking some to time recharge and de-stress, you’ll become a more pleasant and productive caregiver. Making sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising are all essential elements of caring for the caregiver.

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind as you go through your caregiving journey:

  1. Develop a routine. Each morning have a glass of water, some protein and engage in light movement/exercise. This sets the right tone for each day and jump-starts your body.
  2. Find a hobby and really dig into it. Whether you’re reading a book, at a Star Trek convention or tuning into “Mad Men,” completely immerse yourself into something that brings you simple joy.
  3. Slow down. A recent New York Times article indicated that slowing down, contrary to what one might assume, helps you become more efficient. Clearly the quality of what you do is as important as the quantity of the things you accomplish.
  4. Eat right. It’s amazing how junk food zaps your energy and healthy food fuels the body. Don’t be too strict – otherwise eating properly just becomes another form of stress – just try to keep your meals simple, nutritious and fresh.
  5. Ask for help. You can’t expect your friends and family to automatically offer to help. Speak up and communicate your needs. I recently recorded a video that will help you learn how to ask your family members for help.
  6. Think quality. Make the most of your time when you’re caregiving. Try your best to be attentive and truly listen to your aging loved ones. Open lines of communication go a long way towards earning mutual respect.
  7. Utilize resources. There are so many untapped products and services available to help ease caregiver stress – use them. They range from great caregiving blog websites such as www.caregiving.com to products like the VTech CarelineTM phone, which will help enhance communication with your aging loved ones and provide a little peace of mind when you are not with them.

Be sure to recognize that you still may feel overwhelmed, even when you do implement these tips and other lifestyle changes. Gaining back control of your life often relates to having meaning in your days. Of course, this is easier said than done. So don’t worry if you seem to be making positive changes more slowly than you’d like; they will all add up. The most important thing is to not feel guilty. You can’t be everything to everyone. You must make yourself a priority!

Disclaimer:  Content and suggestions provided within should not be construed as a formal recommendation and AJA Associates, LLC makes no representations, endorsements or warranties relating to the accuracy, use or completeness of the information.

ALEXIS ABRAMSON, Ph.D. is cited as America’s leading, impassioned champion for the dignity and independence of those over 50. Abramson is the author of two
 highly acclaimed books – The Caregivers 
Survival Handbook and Home Safety for Seniors.  For more information go to www.alexisabramson.com.