Tip #18 of 50 – Where Do I Even Begin?

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip #18 of 50 –  Where do I even begin?

If you are a senior living in your home or condo (or an adult child trying to help your parent or relative in this situation), you may know that living alone, for a variety of reasons, is not working. There may be a variety of obstacles in your world that make living at home either uncomfortable or perhaps impossible.   Eyesight or hearing loss is oftentimes a big contributor, along with failing physical strength. Laundry room in the basement, anyone? Driving at night sometimes becomes problematic, and eventually, driving at all is problematic.

So, where to begin? First, take heart. There are many options available to you, and they’re not nearly as overwhelming as you might imagine. To learn more about the options available to you when living at home alone is no longer working, click the link above.


Caregiver Assistance: Addressing Caregiver Stress

Caring for an aging family member is a labor of love. But study after study also shows the emotional, physical, and even financial stress that the caregiver incurs as a result.

Research conducted by MetLife revealed that approximately 10 million adult children over the age of 50 (that’s roughly a quarter of all Baby Boomers!) have taken on the role of caregiver for their aging parents, helping with a variety of tasks–everything from running errands and cooking to bathing and using the toilet. It’s a lot to take on, especially for caregivers who may also be juggling a career and their own children, which is likely why caregivers over age 50 who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to have fair or poor health as compared to peers who do not provide elder care.

A few other noteworthy stats from the study:

  • Adult daughters are more likely to provide help with daily care, and sons are more likely to provide monetary assistance.
  • The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of these adult-child caregivers is nearly $3 trillion.
    • For women, the total individual amount of lost income (wages, Social Security benefits, pension) due to leaving the labor force early and/or reducing hours of work because of caregiving responsibilities averages $324,044. For men, it averages $283,716.*

Yet despite all of these physical and financial drawbacks, the adult-child-as-caregiver trend continues to grow rapidly in the United States. The MetLife study showed that the number of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to an aging parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years.

Caring for the caregiver

It seems that caring for an aging parent is here to stay. So what can caregivers do to help alleviate some of the stress associated with the gig? Click the link above to learn more. 


Tip #17 of 50 – Why Not Just Move Into A Hotel For Your Retirement?

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip #17 of 50 –  Why not just move into a hotel for your retirement?

You may have seen the cartoons and ads and articles that suggest (some in all seriousness) that the price of retirement home living is high so, “Why not just move into a hotel?” The article then usually goes on about the price per day, and usually concludes (inaccurately) that hotel living is the better deal financially. Click the link above to learn more about why retirement communities are far superior to hotels.


An Interview with Janet Herring : A Wesley Ridge Resident With A Truly Special Past

Recently, The Wesley Ridge Retirement Community book club read the historical fiction novel, The Atomic City Girls. The group was lucky to have the author, Janet Beard, visit to discuss the book and meet with the residents who read it.

The novel chronicles the making of the atomic bomb in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where hundreds of young women were hired to work on special tasks, which were never truly explained. The workers at Oak Ridge were instructed that they were helping to win the war, but were told to ask no questions and to reveal nothing to outsiders.

While all of our Wesley Ridge book club members were excited to meet with the author, one resident in particular, Janet Herring, had an even greater enthusiasm, she was one of the young women who worked at Oak Ridge in 1945.

Janet was gracious enough to sit down with us to talk about her time at Oak Ridge and the impact it has had on her — not just during her time there, but also now, later in life.

When Janet was in between her freshman and sophomore years of college at Maryville College in Tennessee, she was looking for a local job where she could make some money rather than going home for the summer. While searching in the areas around her, she and a fellow student she knew, Marie, learned about work opportunities available in Knoxville. At the time, however, Janet and Marie did not know they would be going to Oak Ridge. To apply for the work in Knoxville, both Janet and Marie had to take a test assessing their qualifications – and each of them passed with flying colors. From there, they were given minimal information, mostly just about when and where to arrive for work.

Once Janet and Marie arrived in Knoxville, they were taken to Oak Ridge, but it took three days before they were given information pertaining to their jobs or provided with any training. The day did come, however, and they were directed to the bus they would take every morning and then they were guided to the building they would be working in. From there, they were introduced to four soldiers, who looked to be in their mid-to late twenties. The soldiers trained them on their job. At one that at the time, neither realized the importance of their work.

Janet and Marie were assigned to the chemical department, which Janet found interesting as she knew very little about chemistry and was actually studying music. They were tasked with working on a set of glass tubing through which a chemical would be processed. Janet explained that while being trained, they were told that at the end of their shifts, they would end up with a chemical mixture in the glass tubing, which the next shift of employees would use. During training, one of the soldiers very seriously said to them both, “I cannot tell you what the chemical in the tubing is, but what I can tell you is that if you ever spill or drop one of these tubes, run out of the room as fast as you can.” Janet and Marie later found out that the chemical in the tubing was Uranium 235, a main component in the making of the atomic bomb.

When asked how she felt about keeping her work at Oak Ridge a secret, Janet explained that while she couldn’t remember the exact words, something was said to her by a higher up employee that was so frightening, she never even imagined sharing with anyone where she was working.

Janet did mention that one night, two days after she had been at Oak Ridge, her mother called her very worried demanding to know where she was working. Her mother expressed that the FBI had shown up at their house wanting to confirm that Janet was indeed her daughter and lived at that residence. Janet knew she couldn’t tell anyone, not even her mother, until after her time there when the bomb was dropped and the world knew. Janet said she never really questioned her work or why she couldn’t tell anyone either. Remember, that she was too afraid to tell anyone, but she also said she was young and simply just looking for a summer job that paid her. That was all, and she didn’t question it.

Janet talked about how her time working at Oak Ridge was one that she did enjoy. The soldiers that trained her became friends and they often they joked with each other and had fun.

Later in life, Janet said she didn’t realize just how unique and impactful her time at Oak Ridge was. She never really shared her story with others until she began reading about Oak Ridge and meeting people who expressed interest in her story and WWII. A Wesley Ridge resident for 13 years, Janet has since held a few speaking engagements at our community and has been featured in the resident newsletter as well as some local newspapers.

Janet expressed that she was so happy with how well the author of The Atomic City Girls, Janet Beard, depicted the story. There were often times while Janet was reading that she would pause for a moment and remember all of the details of her time there, the words on the pages taking her right back to Oak Ridge. For her 91st birthday, Janet’s daughter surprised her and took her to the museum at Oak Ridge. She had a wonderful time and even though she wasn’t able to go into the building she worked in, Janet said it felt just like it did when she was 18.

With a truly special and interesting past, we are lucky to have Janet Herring as part of The Wesley Communities.


Physical Fitness and Aging

We all want our parents to remain as active and independent as possible, and we want the same thing for ourselves! Regular exercise is pivotal for seniors. Seniors are at greater risk for disease, lost mobility, and falls than any other age group. Conversely, they often realize the positive effects of exercise more quickly than other age group. If your parent hasn’t been exercising, it can be difficult to get started.

Healthaging.net offers some tips to get over that initial hump. Click the link above to learn more.


When to Get On the Wait List at a Retirement Community

If you or a loved one is considering their senior living options, you likely have begun doing research on the retirement communities. Or perhaps you have a loved one in need of long-term care or memory care and staying in the home will not be safe for much longer. With all of the differing communities and facilities available (especially in larger cities), it can be a lot to take in so the decision process can take some time. This varies from one person to another because some senior living decisions are needs-based and move much quicker, while others are more preference-based and can take months or even years. Once you hone in on a few specific places that meet your criteria, you may want to consider getting your name on their waiting lists. Many facilities, particularly assisted living or nursing care facilities, are likely that they have one. Click the link above to learn more.


Tip #16 of 50 – “This is Not Your Grandmother’s Retirement Community”

For those of us “in the industry,” retirement community living makes a great deal of sense. We know that loneliness is a major factor in the mental and physical decline in the senior population. We also know that the residents who live in our communities are glad they’re here . . . and that they often say, “I wish I’d come sooner.” Learn more about how The Wesley Communities are not like your grandmother’s retirement community by clicking the link above.


What is the Happiest Age? (You Might Be Surprised by the Answer!)

What age group of adults would you think is the happiest? If most people were to guess, they’d likely assume people in their 20s and 30s are the most content. Why wouldn’t they be, right? They are young and likely healthy, and they have their whole lives ahead of them, full of potential and exciting events.

If you think young adults have it all, you may be surprised to learn the results of a study conducted out of the University of California-San Diego; the research results were published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Happiness comes with maturity…

The study’s author, Dr. Dilip Jeste, is a geriatric psychiatrist and the director of the university’s Center on Healthy Aging. He and his team of researchers used a random sampling of 1,546 adults in the San Diego area, age 21 to 99.

The subjects in the study underwent a phone interview with a member of the research team and then completed a lengthy survey assessing their physical, cognitive, and mental health. They were asked about their overall happiness and satisfaction with their life. In addition, they were questioned on their stress levels and any depression or anxiety they were experiencing.

It is often assumed that happiness would form a sort of U-shaped curve over the course of life—high in early adulthood, dropping in middle age, and then ticking back up in late life. But this isn’t what the study found.

The researchers discovered that despite potential health issues and physical decline that are often inherent to the aging process, the older research subjects were actually happier overall than the younger adults. Surprisingly, it was those in their 20s and 30s who were found to have the lowest levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and wellbeing, in addition to the highest levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Although the study did not follow the research subjects over time to determine if their responses were just a reflection of that moment in time or a more long-term trend with their mental and physical state, it does suggest that overall, people appear to have improved mental health and overall happiness as they mature and age.

Think about it: In your 20s and 30s, you’ve been released into the “real world,” which can be a difficult transition that includes educational and career pressures, romantic turbulence, trying to keep up with the Joneses, and other “adult stuff” like bills and taxes. It becomes clear why it can indeed be a stressful, anxiety-filled time.

Contrast that to older people. With the wisdom gained over the years, they appear to have more emotional stability, self-awareness, and contentment with their stage in life. They have learned to let more things roll off their backs, which results in greater happiness.

…But not for all seniors

While this study from the University of California-San Diego is certainly good news when it comes to the overall emotional state of our nation’s older citizens, it is not suggested that we should assumethat all seniors are in their happiest phase of life.

There is a “loneliness epidemic” among the elderly, particularly those who live alone, with roughly 40 percent of those seniors saying they often feel isolated—a risk factor that can have a more detrimental impact on health than things like smoking or obesity.

CCRCs can help facilitate happiness

Living alone, in and of itself, does not necessarily translate into loneliness, although it is a contributing factor for many. Likewise, surrounding one’s self with lots of people doesn’t always translate into avoidance of loneliness. Ultimately, it is about quality of relationships and other factors. Yet, this opportunity to socialize more frequently, develop new friendships, and stay active are among the many benefits of living in a retirement community, such as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, also called a life plan community).

For Digital Use (please use the exact hyperlink):

The above article was written by Brad Breeding ofmyLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.


Tip # 15 of 50 – One of the Hardest Decisions There Is: When (and how) Do You Take the Car Keys Away?

If this title caught your eye, you may very well be on the horns of dilemma. You might be an adult son or daughter, a spouse, or a good friend from church or the neighborhood, and you’re dealing with a very tricky problem – your loved one probably shouldn’t be driving anymore. There have been a few too many “Mr. McGoo” moments, perhaps a damaged garage door or fender with no explanation? Or worse? An accident where someone has been injured? The latter is actually easier to deal with than the former, I’ve found. Click above to learn more about when (and how) you take the car keys away.


Tip # 14 of 50 –The Case Against Staying at Home as You Age

There has been a media blitzkrieg (and resulting changes in state and federal regulations regarding nursing home care) about the benefits of staying at home “as long as possible” as we age. Who wouldn’t, after all, want to stay at home? It’s well, home. And home can be familiar and welcoming, with daily routines, good memories, and familiar surroundings.

But what if staying at home isn’t the best option? Click above to learn more about the case against staying at home as you age and the many benefits of continuing care retirement communities.


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Testimonials & Review

My Husband and I had a great expierence when taking our tour with Fanny. She was a pure delight and she made us feel very confortable with her and the facility. She was very informative and answered all of our questions for us. I really enjoyed speaking with her and enjoyed her great personality during our tour.

- Nancy Gallop