Why we don't go to cemeteries?

Several times a week I drive along the 101 freeway thinking about how I hate traffic and speeders. I really never look at the spring flowers or the green mountains, just the cars speeding by me and getting ever so annoyed with the non-carpoolers in the car pool lane. Last week as traffic slowed I  came to a very slow crawl and as I looked over I realized there was the cemetery that I pass by all the time. I have been passing by it for years and never look over and certainly never stop. My thoughts started to wander about why I have never stopped. 

I started Lilytoday 7 years ago and named it after Lily Berry, Lily who is buried at this cemetary. The cemetary I have only been at the day she was buried. I asked myself why have I never stopped? I quickly changed lanes as traffic began moving and made my way to the side of the cemetary. I parked and tried to remember just where Lily was buried, as I wandered around trying to get my bearings I was unable to remember just where she was. I was determined not to give up so I made my way to the office and asked for her location. 

The gentlemen had me follow him to her grave stone. I was not that far off but would have been wondering forever had I not asked. I thought to myself well, her she is now what? What do people do when they go to the cemetary, I had no flowers, nothing to leave there to say someone was here. But what I discovered was it brought up a lot of memories, memories of her reading people's palms, of her loving when the kids and I would bring her Dairy Queen. See my dad passed away years ago and he also said he wanted to be cremated because we would never visit a grave site. 

I realize now that by visiting you are letting the person know (if you believe in the afterlife) that you are thinking of them. You don't need to be at the cemetary to have memories of your loved one but the solice of being there just you and your memories can be important in this fast paced world of speeding cars and non-carpoolers.

I will go back, I am not sure when, but now when I drive by I will be thinking of Lily and remember just where she is. 

 

What is senior living?

What is senior living?
2017 is starting out to be quite a year with so many concerns about healthcare reform, the state of the economy and the cost of assisted living communities.
So just what is Senior Living now days?
More and more older adults are moving in with adult children to preserve assets and help support children. This has been widely excepted in other countries for centuries. It’s only in recent years that this has become more common in the United States. I see new housing subdivisions popping up called NextGen housing. Lennar Homes in the Phoenix area is one of the first to have NextGen housing. Lennar calls it “The Home Within a Home” this opens the door to an array of financial and logistical benefits, while providing the opportunity to share the comfort of your home with loved ones. With this concept cost are lower and also sharing of services, maybe my mom would cook some wonderful comfort dinners and my husband would maintain the yard so my mom does not have to. Whatever the sharing this is an amazing idea that I love.
But what if I’m not in the situation to buy one of these new NextGen houses and my mom or dad can no longer maintain the house that they are living in and does not want to move.
Senior Living can then require some home care services or check-in services like Lilytoday offers because wouldn’t we all still want the comfort of home? Well maybe not, retirement living can be so much more now days. There are Retirement Communities all over the place being built.
You move in when your independent and discover all that the community has to offer; meals, friends, exercise programs, swimming (at least in Arizona) outings to movies and shopping and even casino trips.  These communities do come at a cost one that you might not be ready for.
You then wait until maybe you or your parent needs medication management or nursing care. Assisted Living Communities still offer a realm of amenities from 24-hour staff, medication management, 3 meals a day, help with daily living needs and they still offer activities and outings.

Whatever senior living means for you Lilytoday can help compare cost, explore and tour communities and find the right fit for you or your family member. When you want a real person and not an agency we will advocate for you and find the services you need.
We also offer check-in services for not only those at home but for those in assisted living communities. Do you live out of town and want to check in on mom or dad? Are you going on vacation and want the peace of mind that they are ok? With weekly check-ins we can report back to you immediately and give you the chance to relax and no everything is fine or what needs to be taken care of.


 

Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Stage

I just finished 'Disrupt Aging', a book by Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, with co-author, Boe Workman.  It's very current (2016) and practical, also easy to pick up and ready any chapter solo.   

The first tidbit I learned is that retirement is really a new phenomenon. Back in the day we went straight from childhood to working adult - then along came 'adolescence' in the 1900's. Then we went from working to end of life, there was no in between. Now 'retirement' has come along within the last 60 years.  Jenkins talks about redefining our life course and viewing retirement as a process, not something that abruptly happens in one day. The energy potential of the retirement population is a phenomenal asset to society that we're still learning how to harness. (ie volunteering, part-time work).  Key term: retire and rehire! Take away here is to think of retirement as a process, not as a singular event. 

Moving on to our favorite part....Living Arrangements!  Jenkins offered a fresh, modern perspective around living options. First, good communities aren't retirement age specific. A true 'good' living arrangement will just as much benefit a young mother in her 20's pushing a stroller, as it will a retired man using a walker - sidewalks, crossing guards, ramps, good marking and lighting. Public transportation benefits kids taking the bus to school just as much as it benefits someone getting to a doctor appointment.  We all benefit from 'well developed' (not specifically retirement) communities.  Here's a cool and fun tool AARP has developed to rate the livability of communities - AARP Livability Index: http://livabilityindex.aarp.org/.  Try it, it's fun, most zip codes I entered scored in the mid 40's. Communities are scored in seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity. 

If you're still with me, the key point we've honed in on and polished here at LilyToday is Livable Communities.  As we go through life (age), our needs and wants change, but our environments don't always adapt.  Our dream home 50 years ago no longer has wide enough hallways, has too many stairs and doorknobs we can't twist.  Luckily, today there is an explosion of living communities tailored to being more 'livable'.  We now utilize 'supportive solutions' (key term!) to achieve livability.  Technological innovations, co-housing and generational mixing are all ideas Jenkins flushes out to show us how to achieve our best living at any stage in the game.  

How am I doing? Too long, too short, way too boring?  I'd like to keep going and highlight example communities, supportive solutions and financing, but I figured I'd end (hopefully) with you still on the hook, yes?  We want to hear from you, the good, the bad, and everything inbetween.      

Cheers! Maggie

Ageism

My usual summer reading  usually consists of Nutrition and Motivational books but this summer I ran across a book on Ageism - This Chair Rocks: A manifesto against ageism by Ashton Applewhite. I really love some of the things she writes about especially that:

"THE GOAL IS TO STAY HEALTHY, NOT TO "STAY YOUNG" LONGEVITY IS A BONUS. "

Age denial keeps many people from making lifestyle choices that pay off in the long run.

This book has really made me look differently on ageing. Although my own mother is soon to be 80 I never really think of her as old. She has quite the young spirit and still thinks she is a sexy woman. I love that about her! I hate the saying "aging gracefully: because really how graceful is it to see those new wrinkles appear every year.  Ashton Applewhite talks about that there is no such thing as anti-aging, about embracing our age no matter how old. Some of us will live long healthy lives and some of us will need more help than others and just like youngers some of us may fall ill mentally and or physically. So I say dance when you can even if it's by yourself and smile it will feel good.  Keep moving, Keep dreaming and  embrace your age no matter what it is.  Someday I may have to help my mom decide where she wants to live when she wants a community where she can dance or needs extra help or a lot of help. But until then my mom is my mom she is just older than me :) 

Lily

It's been a long time since my dear friend left this earth. I still miss her calls for me to come over to fix a crisis. In actuality there was no crisis at all. Lily lived alone for over 50 years and I could tell she just wanted company. She did receive meals on wheels and I am sure she tried her darnedest  to keep the delivery person there but they are on a schedule. People love their homes but living alone can get extremely lonely and isolating. 

It's hard helping a parent, friend, relative or yourself to make the decision to move away. That is why we make sure you are comfortable with your choice. Lily did not have a choice, see she was being taken advantaged of by her neighbor and then was placed in a nursing home not of her choice but for her protection. I still say to this day "if only" she was given a choice.

This is why placement plans are so important to us. There may be little time for placement or no family to help, we take the time to research and tour communities and share our findings with you.