The Top Ways Retirement Communities Are Making the Golden Years Great Ones

the-top-ways-sizedRetirement communities in today’s society are designed to enhance the lives of their residents through rich community life, opportunities for maintained independence, and sometimes even luxury accommodations that call to mind five-star hotels and exotic resort destinations. Unlike the stigma of the past, these communities aren’t “facilities for the elderly.” They are neighborhoods, vibrant with bustling activity and overflowing with vitality.

Here are some of the top ways that today’s retirement communities are making the Golden Years great years for everyone.

1) Affordability

Yes, senior care facilities and communities in high-cost cities like San Diego can be expensive. But there are always options to defer some of the costs. Some communities offer move-in specials. Others offer access to specialists who are trained in seeking funding, grants, and financial assistance for eligible seniors. Some communities offer discounts for residents living with roommates, making resort-style living in apartments or even penthouse suites a feasible option that is sure to be enjoyable.

2) Food

Long-gone are the days of the stigma of cafeteria-type food. Seniors in resort retirement communities have access to both fine dining and casual dining, in both atmosphere design and in delicious cuisine. Meals are designed with nutritional needs in mind but prepared in a way that is both pleasing to the eye and to the palette. Many chefs will also prepare dishes of nostalgic or cultural significance that residents are sure to appreciate and enjoy. Further abandoning older models of cafeteria-type food, residents can also enjoy gourmet coffee at on-site coffee shops.

3) Recreation

An active lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle! Retirement communities like those in San Diego offer a wealth of options for residents to choose from when it comes to staying active and fit. An on-site golf course might be the perfect choice for getting out and enjoying the California sunshine and a little competitive energy. Water aerobics or swimming laps in the pool might be the best way to relax and burn some calories at the same time. Many facilities offer modified fitness classes and keep groomed walking trails on the property available to everyone.

4) The Arts

What is life without art? Some communities offer their residents access to an on-site art studio as an outlet for creative pursuits. Instrumental or singing musical groups are also formed for songbirds who have a flair for performance. Film buffs can enjoy classic and modern films in an on-site movie theater. Retirement communities also often employ an activities director who plans any number of theme events, parties, and celebrations that residents can enjoy together.

 

The History of Senior Care around the World

History-world-seniors-sivedSeniors have always been prominent members of societies throughout history. In many ancient cultures, they were considered the wise elders who would contribute to making decisions that affected entire tribes. After all, they had earned their wisdom through years of trial and error and helped to care for their communities now by sharing their experiences.

In the times of the Ancient Greeks, law required that children care for aging parents. Citizens who did not comply were under threat of punishments like loss of citizenship, a harsh consequence second only to execution in the minds of people at the time.

“The Elizabethan Poor Law,” put into effect in the 1600’s, would later serve as the model for “aging services” in the U.S. colonies. Families were expected to help their relatives if they could no longer live independently. Neighbors were expected to pitch in when family couldn’t. If this still wasn’t meeting the needs of those needing help, delegates from private and public sectors were expected to work together. These steps didn’t just apply to aging community members, but to all members of the community who needed assistance, financial or otherwise.

During the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, artwork depicting community elders evoked a sense of wisdom, experience, and beauty of the subject being painted. Elders became so revered that after the French Revolution, some towns and villages in France held festivals designed to specially honor the older residents of the area.

By the 1930’s, America had shifted from families primarily caring for their loved ones to Federal Government involvement. The Social Security Act of 1935 made huge strides in independence for Americans as they grew older. Part of the Act required employers and employees to make contributions for the eventual retirement of the employee.

Today, the world for Americans reaching their Golden Years looks completely different than it did even 50 years ago. For one, better healthcare and advances in medicine have shifted the age range of the older population, along with their quality of life. Those entering retirement often travel the world, work part-time in the field of their choice, or take up volunteering positions at art institutions or museums. The possibilities are truly endless.

Some retirees may move into “mother-in-law” suites in their children’s homes in order to play an active role in their grandchildren’s lives and upbringing. Others dedicate themselves to committees and teaching in religious organizations.

Many older folks find happiness and fulfillment living in retirement communities. Facilities like those found in San Diego offer resort-style luxury living, with senior care services provided as well. In facilities like those, residents enjoy life in apartments or in penthouse suites. They have access to an on-site library, a movie theater, a hair salon, and even a golf course.

The Best Ways to Enjoy Your Golden Years

traveling-seniors-sizedPeople often refer to age 60 and beyond as “The Golden Years,” and for good reason! During the Golden Years, the hard work of raising children is done, years of toiling away at one’s job are over, and many of life’s hardest lessons have been learned. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy all the golden moments life still has to offer!

Here is a list of ideas for spending the Golden Years in comfort and in fulfillment of dreams.

1) Travel

Before, there was always work to be done. There were long hours at the office and soccer games and ballet recitals to attend. Any travel done in younger years usually revolved around family gatherings or things the kids were interested in. Now is the time to enjoy traveling to all the sites on your wish-list that’s been in the back of your mind since childhood. One woman tells the story of how during retirement and beyond, she traveled to all the destinations she’d always wished to visit. These included the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the sacred Beaches of Normandy, and the castles of the British Isles. She also spent her years researching her family’s genealogy, tracing the family roots back to nobility in England and eventually onto the Mayflower.

2) Family

Some people spend their Golden Years living in regret for not enough time spent with family in exchange for long hours at the office. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Why not use these years to make up for lost time with loved ones? This might involve travel to visit relatives around the country. This could mean regularly organizing summer barbecues or family reunions. Or it could simply be instituting Sunday meals at the old homestead to keep everyone gathering regularly and keeping up on each other’s lives.

3) Community

Focusing on community life is a great priority to have during the Golden Years. People can get involved at their local Commission on Aging and enjoy all the activities they have planned. Volunteering at an animal shelter or library is a great way to be more active in the community now that work schedules aren’t a factor.

Many find community with other like-minded individuals at resort-style retirement communities. Communities such as those in National City offer senior care services, along with other perks like planned excursions with other residents, and activities like community gardening, bocce ball tournaments, and frequent movie showings.

Whatever the chosen path, it’s important to remember that the Golden Years are a time where you get to choose what you want to do! It’s a time of celebration and self care that can bring some of the most beautiful moments in life yet.

 

Building A Nest Egg for Retirement

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It doesn’t matter if you began working at 16 or 30 or if your first job was in a fast food chain or at the stock exchange. As soon as you start earning, you need to think of saving for your retirement.  The earlier you are able to build a sizable nest egg, the better.  This will put your mind at ease. You will be financially covered in case of emergencies when you are no longer working due to retirement or needing senior care services in San Diego.

Save Regularly

Set aside a certain percent of your monthly earnings specifically for your retirement fund.  Carefully plotting out a monthly budget will help you live within your means, and still have enough to set aside as savings. Be very strict about not touching this money. If you are determined and disciplined enough, not only will you have saved a certain amount on a regular basis, but starting this habit puts you in a mindset of financially preparing for your future. Starting a savings fund is fundamental in achieving your financial goals. Choose the bank that will give you the best rates. By the time you are at the retirement age and needing senior care services, these savings will have grown exponentially due to interest.

Make Reasonable Investments

Another way to build your retirement nest egg, is by investing. If you are just getting into it, remember to start small. Get your feet wet first, so to speak. There are lots of low risk and medium risk investments that you can get into. Remember to use only your disposable income on these investments. Continue to keep your savings separate from your investments. Of course, if you are bolder, you can make bigger and more risky investments where the returns are bigger.  Ask the advice of investment experts before you do any investing.

Diversify Sources of Income

Traditionally, your main source of income would come from your job.  But you need to think outside of the box and not rely on this method of generating money alone. There are a lot of ways to earn.  You can do part-time remote work. You might want to offer some of your skills on a freelance basis. You can explore ways on how to create passive income. You can sell stuff. The more income you make, the more money you can set aside for the future.  Remember to keep your eye on the prize. Before you know it, you will have built a nest egg that can support you in your retirement years when you would be needing senior care services.

What’s Life Like After Retirement?

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For most of your life, you followed a routine, more or less. From age five to 21, you most likely went to school. From 21 to 60 you went to work regularly.  But now that you are retired, what will you do with all the free time that you now have on your hands?

Keep Doing Your Job

Maybe you are one of those lucky ones who truly loved their job. Who says you need to stop doing it then, once you are retired? You can still do your job after retirement but in another capacity. You can do consultant work in National City where you can get senior care services. You can offer your expertise to your previous company or even your previous competitors. Another option is to create a course and teach others who want do the same job that you did.  You can find someone who is just starting in the same job that you had, and you can offer to mentor that person and show that person the ropes.

Continue Learning

At one time or another, we have all thought: “I wish I had time to learn ….”  Maybe it’s a foreign language, or a musical instrument, or cooking your favorite type of cuisine. Whatever it is that you wanted to learn, now is the perfect time to do it, thanks to the senior care services available to you in National City. You might choose to enroll in a course, or you might want to ask someone you know to teach you. You can even learn the new skill on your own by reading books, surfing online and then, practicing the skill daily.  Learning doesn’t stop once you’ve graduated from the university, nor when you are retired from work. It is a lifelong process.  Now that you have more time on your hands, why not add another new skill to the already impressive list of skills that you possess?

Go On An Extended Vacation

There’s a popular saying that goes, “Work Hard, Play Hard.”  You have been working since you graduated from college. You did your job and you did it well. You have certainly paid your dues. But it seemed you never had enough time to stop and just relax, without a worry in your mind. Even when you took those short vacations from work, you were still thinking of your job waiting for you back at the office. But now that you have retired from work, you can finally free your mind and discover the joy of simply doing nothing. So, go on, take that extended vacation you’ve been dreaming of all these years! You deserve it!

How Senior Care Is Changing-For the Better

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You may have preconceived notions of what senior care looks like, whether you are pondering it for yourself or a loved one. However, with a growing population of people using these type of facilities, the facilities themselves need to be able to adapt their changing needs and desires. This includes keeping in mind what the seniors themselves and adult children want.

One way that the old stereotypes are getting challenged is the idea of location. The classic concept would be somewhere peaceful and out of the way. There will always be a use for these, but some senior care facilities are beginning to look for space in urban areas and someplace that may be a cultural hotspot rather than a quiet place to live.

There are some different reasons for this: children want proximity to their parents, seniors demand cultural connection and a chance to enjoy the benefits of a community while still feeling like part of a larger community. Some recent requirements are access to arts and cultural attractions, social surroundings outside of the housing, stores, transportation options, as well as partnership with community programs. Being safe and secure is important, but now, senior care housing has become fun.  Even the layout of certain units is reflecting this concept. Some facilities are trying to move towards looks that emulate a traditional apartment.

In addition, we’re seeing more investment in recreational programs, whether it’s about entertainment, exercise, or even continued learning. As the opportunities for seniors grow across the world, this potential is reflected in care facilities.

Another thing to consider is that as the demand grows, there is going to be a greater need for skilled healthcare professionals, just like there would be in any other industry. To give you an idea of all the different people who make your memory care in San Diego experience great, check out the following list:

  • Certified Nurse Aides
  • Resident Caregivers
  • Medication Aides
  • Registered Nurses
  • Resident Services
  • LPNs
  • Other Nursing Staff

This isn’t including a variety of other people you may encounter over the course of your senior care journey, like at-home caregivers or people who come to these facilities for entertainment or events. As demand grows, you’re going to have more professionals who see all the different opportunities at hand. This means an influx of skilled medical professionals who are ready to make your experience the best possible for years to come. Overall, if you’re on the fence about facilities, now’s the time to leave your preconceived notions at the door.

Proud of our Neighbor…In January, Paradise Valley Hospital Recognized Among Top 15 in Nation

What a blessing for a Retirement and Assisted Living Community to be located adjacent to such a quality medical facility!

National City, CA – Jan. 24, 2012 – Paradise Valley Hospital and Alvarado Hospital Medical Center were recognized this week as part of the only hospital system—Prime Healthcare—in California named one of the nation’s top 15 by Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare.

The prominent award is based on objective criteria such as clinical outcomes, patient safety, patient satisfaction and operational efficiency.

“Our healthcare system excelled even in this elite group,” said Luis Leon, CEO of Alvarado and Paradise Valley hospitals. “We have long been proud of our clinical quality, but now San Diegans can see that the high level of quality care, better survival rates, fewer complications and better patient safety provided to our patients has been validated by an outside source based on federal data.”

Researchers from the Thomson Reuters “100 Top Hospitals” program analyzed the clinical quality and efficiency of more than 300 health systems to identify the top 15 in the nation. The study found that regardless of their size, the top health systems shared many of the same qualities, including:

Lower 30-day mortality rates
Better survival rates
Fewer complications
Shorter hospital stays
Better patient safety
Core measure adherence

In fact, top health systems had 23% fewer adverse patient safety events than expected and had better adherence to core measures of care than their peers.

Prime Healthcare, which operates 14 hospitals in California and one in Texas, ranked higher than the other 21 health systems in California and the more than 30 other health systems on the West Coast.

The study used the 2010 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) and the CMS Hospital Compare data sets to examine health systems with two or more short-term, general, non-federal hospitals; cardiac and orthopedic hospitals; and critical access hospitals.

To Itemize or Not, That is the Question

Many seniors have gotten into the habit of claiming the standard deduction instead of itemizing. That’s because they typically pay little or no mortgage interest, and they usually don’t owe much for state and local income and property taxes either. So the most common itemized deductions for the rest of us often amount to little or nothing for seniors. Plus folks age 65 and older get larger standard deductions. All that said, claiming the standard deduction may not be the right answer if you have significant medical expenses.

As you probably know, medical expenses can only be deducted to the extent they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). In adding up your expenses, don’t make the common mistake of forgetting to count Medicare insurance premiums. Together with other out-of-pocket costs, Medicare premiums can easily put you over the 7.5%-of-AGI threshold and also cause your total itemized deductions to exceed the standard deduction amount. Here’s the drill to find out if you can cut your tax bill by itemizing.

Step 1: Identify Expenses that Count as Medical Expenses.

 

To figure out if you have enough medical expenses to benefit from itemizing, add up the following.

  • Premiums for Medicare Parts B, C, and D Coverage. Seniors enrolled in Medicare can count premiums for Medicare Part B coverage (for medical costs other than hospital bills), Part C coverage (for Medicare Advantage policies), and Part D coverage (for prescription drugs) as medical expenses. *For most people, the 2011 Part B premium is $1,157 per covered person, but it can be up to $4,429 per person for higher-income folks (the 2012 premiums will be a bit higher, but we don’t have the exact numbers yet). *Part C premiums depend on the plan. *Part D premiums average around $360 per covered person for 2011 (and will probably be about the same for 2012).
  • These Medicare coverage premiums are generally withheld from your SocialSecurity benefit payments. If so, you can find the premium amounts for each year on Form SSA-1099 (Social Security Benefit Statement) which you should receive shortly after the end of each year.
  • Premiums for Supplemental Medicare Coverage (Medigap Insurance)
  • Seniors can also count premiums paid for private Medicare supplemental insurance policies — often called Medigap coverage — as medical expenses. The cost depends on the plan, but annual premiums can easily amount to $1,000 to $2,000 per covered person or more.
  • Premiums for Qualified Long-Term Care Coverage
  • Premiums for qualified long-term care (LTC) insurance also count as medical expenses, subject to age-based limits. For each covered person, count the lesser of: (1) the actual premiums paid in 2011 or (2) the age-based limit from below: Age on 12/31/2011 – Maximum Premium Amount 61-70 $3,390. Over 70 $4,240
  • Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses
  • Many seniors also incur significant out-of-pocket outlays due to insurance co-payments and deductibles and for dental and vision care. Be sure to add these into the mix.
  • Medical Expenses Paid for Relatives
  • Did you pay health premiums or uninsured medical expenses for a qualifying relative this year? If you did, count these expenses, too. For a person to be your qualifying relative, you generally must pay over half of his or her support for 2011, and the person must be your adult child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchild, father, stepfather, father-in-law, mother, stepmother, mother-in-law, brother, stepbrother, brother-in-law, sister, stepsister, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew. It doesn’t matter if the relative lives with you or not.

 

Step 2: Add Everything Up and Subtract 7.5% of AGI

 

As earlier, you can only claim an itemized medical expense deduction to the extent your total expenses exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, say your 2011 AGI is $80,000, and you have $20,000 of medical expenses from the preceding expansive list, deduction is $14,000 [$20,000 — $6,000 (7.5% of your $80,000 AGI)].

 

Step 3: Add in Other Itemized Deductions and Compare to Standard Deduction

 

Now that you’ve learned you can claim a significant itemized deduction for medical expenses (even after subtracting 7.5% of AGI), the next step is to identify any other potential itemized deductions for 2011. These can include (among other things):

  • State and local income and property taxes (including taxes on cars, boats, and other personal property).
  • State and local general sales taxes (but only if you choose to claim them instead of claiming state and local income taxes).
  • Home mortgage interest (if any).
  • Charitable contributions

 

Add these to your medical expense deduction, and see if the total exceeds your 2011 standard deduction amount of $7,250 if you are aunmarried and will be 65 or older as of 12/31/11 or $13,900 if you file jointly, and both you and your spouse will be 65 or older as of 12/31/11.

 

Be sure to contact a trusted, experienced tax advisor to find what’s right for you!

Paradise Village enjoy nearby waterfront park!

Pepper Park

 

 

 

 

Paradise Village retirement community residents love the close access to parks and recreation we have within a few miles of our senior living community.  National City’s own Pepper Park, named after National City businessman and civic leader Leonard Pepper, is a 5-½ acre park with picnic areas, a busy boat launching ramp and a fishing pier equipped with lighting for night fishing.  Paradise Village is located two miles from the beautiful, waterfront area in our city.

Residents venture off on their own to explore these local area gems or are taken in our lovely coach van to a variety of parks, waterfront areas and picturesque places in town.  Our walking club heads out weekly on Saturday mornings.  World renown Balboa Park is only 5 miles away.

Paradise Village offers affordable senior housing in San Diego’s beautiful South Bay!

PEPPER PARK stats:

Special Events Permitted: Yes
Maximum Occupancy for Events: 1,000
Weddings/Receptions: Yes
Location: South Terminus of Tidelands Avenue
Hours
: 6:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Amenities

Telephones Bike Parking Play Equipment
Boat Launch Picnic Telephones
Bike Restrooms

Paradise Valley Hospital Earns Award

Paradise Valley Hospital Recognized as Top Performer

The Joint Commission Recognized PVH on Key Quality Measures

National City, CA – Sept. 27, 2011 – Out of more than 3,000 hospitals across the country, Paradise Valley Hospital was recognized as a top performer on key quality measures by The Joint Commission.

Paradise Valley ranks in the top 14 percent of all commission-accredited healthcare facilities based on clinical processes data shown to improve care for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.

“Today, the public expects transparency in the reporting of performance at the hospitals where they receive care, and the Joint Commission is shining a light on the top-performing hospitals that have achieved excellence on a number of vital measures of quality of care,” said Joint Commission President Mark Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH.

To be recognized, a hospital had to meet or exceed 95% performance on a composite score that included all of the accountability measures, and meet or exceed 95% performance on every performance measure that it reports to the Joint Commission. Of the 34 California hospitals recognized, nine are Prime Healthcare hospitals, including Paradise Valley Hospital. Paradise Valley also is one of only three recognized hospitals in San Diego County.

“I want to thank the physicians, nursing staff and employees at Paradise Valley Hospital for adhering to our motto of bringing quality, cost-effective and compassionate healthcare to every one of their patients,” said Regional CEO Luis Leon.

The commission is the leading accreditor of healthcare organizations in the United States.

The commission’s “Improving America’s Hospitals,” recognizes hospitals that are top performers in using evidence-based care processes closely linked to positive patient outcomes. The 405 organizations identified as attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for the full previous year (2010) represent approximately 14 percent of commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals that report core measure performance data.