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Living Well–What Does it Mean?

By Jackie Halbin,
Living Well Manager at Lakeview Village

jackiehalbin

The Living Well staff will be rounding out the rest of the year with a review of the six whole person wellness dimensions: physical, social, vocational, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. We will take a couple of weeks to focus on each dimension and get you thinking about your personal wellness.

In October, we will focus on the physical and social dimensions. What is physical wellness? One definition would be “Living Well.” How does one live well? One could say that living well means taking responsibility for your own health through health screenings, disease prevention, personal safety, and physical activity. Be productive, enjoy the moment, and, if ill, heal the whole person. By maintaining or increasing physical activity, you are more likely to have a better quality of life and suffer fewer disabilities than inactive people. Being physically active keeps blood pressure down, minimizes bone loss as we age, lowers risk of diabetes, manages stress and other chronic disease, and helps maintain weight effectively. Also, being physically active has been shown to prevent cognitive and memory decline. You can easily tie the social dimension into your life by coming to a group exercise class. Come and try one!

The social dimension is humanistic, emphasizes healthy relationships and enhances independence with others and nature by creating harmony in one’s life. Have you ever noticed someone who lives in isolation? Isolation—either actual or perceived—has been shown scientifically to be a powerful risk factor for poor health, both mentally and physically. There is also proof that the more we participate in social activities, the better our overall health becomes.

Rosemary Blieszner and Rebecca G. Adams researched friendship and found that “good friends are critically important to successful aging…Friends can be more important to the psychological well-being of older adults than even family members are” (Blieszner and Adams 1992). Studies have also shown that loneliness can contribute to a range of health issues, form high blood pressure to pain, depression and dementia. Social interaction boosts health and quality of life!

Remember you can boost your health now and prevent decline. Be active! Be social! Join us in class, or join your friends for a walk! Wellness is something that we all can achieve!

To find out more about Lakeview Village, check out our website or find us on Facebook.

How Much is Enough?

How Much is Enough? BoardMember3

Residents and prospective residents of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) are typically those who have already experienced some measure of financial success. Unless your personal assets are entirely the result of a generous inheritance, you probably have a track record of spending less than you make, avoiding debt, saving for emergencies and future purchases and investing long term. Now in your retirement years, the question is: How much of my accumulated wealth is enough?

Our son retired at the ripe old age of 50 (proving to me once again that life is not fair!), but while he is a bit of an “outlier” in that respect, people are retiring earlier, then living longer than in times past. While living longer is generally a result to be celebrated, it also poses some challenges from a financial point of view.

In an affluent society there is a moral (some would say even spiritual) dilemma of how much of this affluence needs to be kept for oneself, and what might be available for the benefit of others. The people of this great nation have always been known for their generosity, when compared with almost any other developed country. While it has been said that behind every fortune lies a great crime, I find that statement to be a bit cynical. After all, we owe much of our public library system to the Carnegies, and who but Bill Gates would take on projects as ambitious as eradicating diseases in Africa?

While few of us have the resources of the Carnegies and Gates, there seems to be a spirit of giving inculcated into our very being, and most people who have been blessed financially have a genuine desire to share with others. We all know some exceptions to that rule, but often I find people who really want to give generously, but are fearful that if they give to others in need or causes about which they care deeply, their remaining wealth will be insufficient to sustain them through their (hopefully) long lives.

Enter the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), riding (metaphorically speaking) to the rescue. Actually, it’s not that simple; even an experienced CFP® has no more ability to foretell the future than you do. But these professionals can help with financial projections, based upon reasonable assumptions about the future, and arrive at a general conclusion about just how much is “enough.” This knowledge can be amazingly liberating for those anxious about their giving intentions. There are also some valuable tools that can be used to “hedge your bets” while sharing your wealth.

As a general rule, CCRC residents are a dream to a CFP®! A major portion of the resident’s cost of living is covered by the monthly CCRC fee, and the remaining expenses are typically more discretionary in nature, so the ability to forecast future cash flow needs is greatly enhanced. But the biggest forecasting advantage for the CCRC resident is that a major area of financial risk faced by seniors—financing the cost of long term care—is covered by the CCRC! If your CFP® doesn’t have to factor in that huge contingency, the range of possible financial forecast outcomes is narrowed considerably, and you are much more likely to know the answer to that nagging “How much is enough” question.

Once you have an answer to that question you can start using the many planning tools for creative giving, and one of the best is the Charitable Gift Annuity. This is a real life example of “having your cake and eating it, too!” You can give a gift to your favorite qualified charity (your very own CCRC may qualify), and receive a fixed payout on that gift amount for the rest of your life. You get an initial tax deduction for charitable giving, and the payout rate paid to you is based upon your age (older is better!).

So the “bottom line” is: You really can experience the “joy of generous giving” and still have the expectation that your financial future is relatively secure. Another amazing benefit of CCRC living!

Emerson Hartzler, MBA, is a Lakeview Village resident, and, though he lives in a retirement community, he continues working as a financial advisor for Triune Financial Partners, LLC, at Lighton Plaza, 7300 College Blvd., in Overland Park, Kan. Reach Triune at 913-825-6100.  

To find out more about Lakeview Village, check out our website, or follow us on Facebook.

Skydiving for Seniors: Lakeview Village Residents Jump to Help Neighbors
skydiveray1

Ray Stafford takes the dive in 2012 to support Lakeview Village’s Good Samaritan Fund

Former Hess Corporation CEO Ray Stafford considers himself a conservative guy, and “never dreamed” of jumping out of a plane until he found himself thousands of feet in the air in October 2012, free falling to help fellow Lakeview Village residents.

Stafford, Lakeview Village President and CEO Jamie Frazier and three additional residents jumped from a plane in Fall 2012, all to raise money for the Good Samaritan Fund, a fund established to assist Lakeview residents who can no longer afford the full cost of care, through no fault of their own; the fund provides residents with security in knowing that their needs will be met.

In 2012, the jumpers raised more than $13,000 for the Good Samaritan Fund, and in 2013, hope to raise $25,000. In order to do this, residents are out collecting donations, and are looking for at least 12 jumpers to participate in the Oct. 12 jump. Those who jumped last year ranged in age from 78 to 95.

“It’s pretty rare to see a group like this come out,” said Chris Hall, owner and operator of Skydive Kansas City in Orange, Mo., where Lakeview residents will jump this year, and where they jumped last year.

Jamie Frazier, Lakeview Village president and CEO, who plans to jump again this year, added, “Our oldest jumper was 95 last year, and we’ve already had a 90 year old sign up for this year’s jump, which goes to prove that age doesn’t equal vitality. I know of no other retirement community in the nation where several residents have not only jumped together, but have jumped for a great cause–to help one another.”

staffordSafe

Ray Stafford lands safely.

The jump is performed tandem-style, which means that participants are strapped to a professional jumper (who has to clock more than 500 jumps over three years in order to be a tandem skydive instructor). There is a free fall for 40 to 70 seconds at speeds of 120 to 150 mph, followed by a five- to seven-minute parachute flight, in which jumpers glide over the landscape.

Stafford said that he found comfort in knowing that the tandem jumpers were required to have a lot of experience in skydiving, and that the parachutes are professionally packed by an FAA-certified rigger. He said that there was a 90-minute orientation process, during which the instructors detailed the jump, and prepared jumpers for their flight.

Hall said that most of his instructors have more than 1,000 jumps under their belt, and place safety as their top priority.

In order to jump, participants fill out forms, and have to pass a physical evaluation where they are tested to see if they can raise their feet (for the landing) and work their back into an arch (for the free fall). Participants must be able to move with the instructor off of the plane; Hall said that they have reconfigured the seating arrangement on the plane that should help make the exit easier for seniors.

“I’ve never met a person who jumped out of an airplane in my 22 years who has said, ‘That was a really bad idea,’” said Hall, who says skydiving is almost always in the Top 10 list of amazing experiences people reflect upon. “They’re going to be reliving their youth in a very unique way on that day, and they’ll never forget that moment, and that’s true for a 19 year old or a 90 year old.”

If skydiving is on your bucket list, here is your opportunity to check it off. Mr. Stafford said that it was a good experience for a good cause.

“I felt good about it. It went pretty fast. It was nice,” said Stafford, who would have jumped again this year if he hadn’t been experiencing some health issues. He will be cheering on jumpers from the ground this year.

Interested residents will be jumping out of a Beechcraft King airplane around 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Skydive Kansas City, 1413 North Orange in Butler, Mo.

Donations for the Good Samaritan Fund can be dropped off at the Heritage Reception Desk, with checks made out to the “Lakeview Village Foundation,” with “Skydive/GSF” in the memo line. Checks can be sent to Lakeview Village, at 9100 Park St. Lenexa, KS 66215.

To view a video from last year’s jump, click here.

If you are interested in joining us on the jump, call resident and Team Captain Paul Walter at 816-223-6349

G’Day Lakeview! Break out your walking sticks for our next “Passport to Adventure” to Australia!

By Jackie Halbinjackiehalbin
Lakeview Village’s Living Well manager

Exercise is boring? Not at Lakeview Village! This month—as part of our yearlong “Passport to Adventure” series—we’re going on a virtual trip to Australia!

On Sept. 21—from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.—residents and staff will come together for a “Walkabout,” which is one part exercise, and one part scavenger hunt! Participants will pick up a map of Lakeview Village (turned into the Outback!) at Eastside Terrace. The map is divided into puzzle pieces, and participants will have to piece together the map before embarking on their Walkabout. australia_kangaroo

Along the way, residents will find many unique stops that assimilate Australia; the map will guide them through historic facts and fun hints as they walk the one-mile loop and check off their clues. Participants have the option to explore the “Outback” on their own path, and at their own pace. Once they finish, everyone is treated to coffee, donuts and games.

Participants will see (images of) the famous Ayers rock, crocodiles, koala bears, kangaroos and marble rock, and will be challenged to a boomerang toss, among other games, including trivia and a traditional Australian game called We-me.

This wonderful event also doubles as a fundraiser for Lakeview’s Good Samaratin Fund, which is a fund that assists residents who can no longer afford the full cost of their care, through no fault of their own. We encourage residents to invite friends and family to this event, which embodies Lakeview’s whole-person wellness philosophy; participants will find stimulation through physical, intellectual, social, vocational, spiritual, emotional outlets.

So grab your Crocodile Dundee hat and your walking stick, and join the fun!

“Passport To Adventure” is a theme used this year as a fun way to incorporate whole-person wellness. Each month, we highlight a country, and learn the language, culture and fun and interesting facts before putting it all to use in a major event.  So far this year, we have learned hello, goodbye, and “How are you?” in Russian, French, Italian and Spanish.  We also use the culture and traditions as part of trivia games that test recall –this is mostly used in our group classes, and through our monthly brain-game activities.

Here are our past travels!

  • January: Russia. We listened to a guest speaker, learned the language, and featured the “kettlebell” as a form of exercise (since it was developed in Russia).
  • February: USA. We held a Super Bowl Party, and a “Football History March” followed by a “trip” to Ireland, where we learned Irish dances and jigs. (Residents love seeing their peers perform dances)
  • April: France. We did an “Aqua Splash” promotion and a swimsuit sale “on the French Riviera.”
  • May: Mexico. Cinco de Mayo! A special dance group came in to present Mexican dance.
  • June: Vacation from travels—we held a community picnic.
  • July: Italy. Well—we tasted wine, of course!
  • August: Africa. We held a dance and drum circle, and served up traditional African desserts.

We hope to see you on our next adventure! To find out more about Lakeview Village, check out our website, or follow us on Facebook.

Lakeview Village is Prepared to Care for Boomers

By James K. Frazier, Lakeview portrait-ceo
Village president and CEO

We’ve all heard the story, but Lakeview Village is already heeding the warning: A projected shortage of caregivers for aging Baby Boomers could change the way we age, and who cares for us through retirement, but—with careful planning and an emphasis on care—communities like Lakeview Village are already working to buck the forecasted trend.

AARP, which recently issued the eye-opening report, “The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap,” projects that by 2050—when Baby Boomers are between 86 and 104—there will only be three caregivers for every senior, down from the average seven caregivers for every senior in 2010.

At Lakeview Village, which is a Life Care continuing care retirement community, we have healthcare employees on staff around the clock, ready to help at all hours. The training our caregivers receive equips them with the tools to address various problems that can arise with seniors—the same healthcare issues that often puzzle adult children thrust into the role of caring for their aging parents. If the projected numbers hold true, our children will increasingly find themselves in the caregiving role.

By definition, the “congregate care” model of a Life Care continuing care retirement community—with all healthcare services on campus—makes use of the economies of scale, so that one-on-one personalized caregiving is often more affordable and more logistically feasible than what is available when one remains in the greater community.

Employees at Lakeview Village are not only experienced, they are committed—and that’s another demographic we—as a society—could lose in 30 years. About 125 of Lakeview’s employees have worked at Lakeview for more than five years; they really know and care for our residents and our residents know and trust them—such a positive environment gives residents security, and offers them a tremendous health benefit. We’re extremely proud of our employees and care for them so they can care for our residents.

The senior living industry will have to keep finding innovative ways to provide care as human resources diminish. Until then, Lakeview Village remains ready and fully equipped to care for seniors today, and is already setting our sights to care for the seniors of tomorrow.

To find out more about Lakeview Village in Lenexa, Kansas, visit our website, and follow us on Facebook. 

Can I Afford the Monthly Fee at a Life Care Continuing Care Retirement Community?

BoardMember3Most of us live in a setting where our month-to-month and periodic expenses are very diverse. A typical household budget may involve a dozen or so major categories of expense and 30 or more individual line items. The Life Care continuing care retirement community (CCRC) monthly fee covers a lot of those line items, and the Life Care CCRC lifestyle has an impact on a number of others. So you are faced with an “apples and oranges” problem trying to compare your current cost of living with what you will experience living in a Life Care CCRC.

From my experience in providing financial advisory services to families, comparing their current cash flow with a new living situation is difficult at best. They will claim they know what they spend each month and each year, and there are a number of expenses that occur in a regular, predictable pattern. Unfortunately, there is typically an equal amount of money that goes to pay expenses that are highly variable from month to month, and even year to year.

The good news is that once you get a handle on where, exactly, your money is being spent now, it is fairly easy to determine where it would be spent should you choose to live in a Life Care CCRC. Then, the answer to the big affordability question is at hand.

The other good news is that it is no longer necessary to dig through mounds of receipts or set up a complex personal accounting system to track what is going on with ALL of your income and expenses. I use a free Internet-based program, Mint.com, to track, categorize and summarize (by month) all of my financial transactions. Mint is tenacious in capturing every dollar coming in and every dollar going out. I also have about 40 clients who successfully use the Mint system each month.

Usually it takes about three months of Mint data to understand the realities of your current cash flow, and at that point a simple Excel worksheet (or a Big Chief tablet – remember those?) is all it takes to make a valid comparison between your current cash flow and what you would experience living in a Life Care CCRC. You might be quite surprised at how many of those nasty bills go away with Life Care CCRC living. We found that utility bills are pretty much a thing of the past, and grocery shopping is limited (our main meal each day is covered by the CCRC monthly fee). The bills for repainting the house and repairing the roof aren’t coming (ever!), and if one of our appliances breaks, it’s not our problem. I don’t even have to change light bulbs in the ceiling– amazing!

I’ve had the opportunity to help several clients with this “before and after” comparison of cash flow, and as a rule of thumb, it appears the Life Care CCRC monthly fee usually covers about 60 percent of a family’s total monthly expenses. So, if your net income is sufficient to pay the monthly Life Care CCRC fee and still have about 40 percent left over for remaining expenses, you can probably afford the fee. Of course, a rule of thumb is just that, and every situation is unique, but the cash flow comparison exercise outlined above will give you a much more definitive answer to the question of affordability.

The real beauty of a Life Care CCRC–from a financial perspective–is that your future expenses are going to be much more predictable. You can expect regular price increases (Life Care CCRCs have expenses subject to inflation, too), but you can account for that in your long-range financial planning, and there are a host of unpleasant surprises the typical homeowner gets on an all-too-regular basis (Oops, last summer’s drought caused cracks in the basement walls) that will no longer be haunting you.

Finally, the risk of needing copious amounts of cash flow to cover the cost of long-term care is largely mitigated by the Life Care CCRC’s contract for the continuum of care. Personally, I think I can handle an annual cost of living increase in my monthly Life Care CCRC fee; it’s the change from my current monthly fee to that $300 per day rate charged by the typical nursing home ($600 for both spouses) that I don’t want to think about!

Sadly, not everyone can afford to live in a Life Care CCRC. But if you can (and the tools are available to make a reasonable determination), you will be dealing with a lot less uncertainty in your future cash flow, and concern about what the next unpleasant financial surprise might be. Financial advisors like me also love it –it makes our job sooo much easier!

Emerson Hartzler, MBA, is a Lakeview Village resident, and, though he lives in a retirement community, he continues working as a financial advisor for Triune Financial Partners, LLCat Lighton Plaza, 7300 College Blvd., in Overland Park, Kan. Reach Triune at 913-825-6100. Learn more about Lakeview Village–the senior neighborhood of choice, and the largest retirement community in Kansas–by visiting our website at lakeviewvillage.org, or checking us out on Facebook.

Drums, Pancakes and Animals–Keeping it Entertaining at Lakeview Village
By Shellie Sullivan Community Life Manager
Keeping busy means keeping Lakeview Village residents entertained, and we like to think that we do a pretty good job of that!

In August, more than 150 people came out for our “Jungle Fever” event, which featured African dance, a drum circle and delicious desserts from Esther’s African Cuisine in Lenexa. Everyone was smiling, dancing and beating their own drum, or tapping their feet to the beat.
We just finished serving up our Back-to-School Breakfast—a fundraiser for our Child Development Center kids—and had such a good time. The children, who range in age from three to five, got such a kick out of playing waiter and waitress, and the residents loved interacting with them. Chris Cakes—which makes delicious pancakes and serves them up with a smile—filled our bellies, and helped fill the room with joy, using their trademark pancake-flipping style.
On Wednesday, the Kansas City Zoo is coming to our Lakeview Village town, bringing some small animals to show residents in a special “Zoo to You” educational presentation.
On tap for September: KMBC Anchor Larry Moore, sponsored by Country Club Bank, will be in the community on Sept. 23 to talk about his career as a newsman, and to talk about the charity he co-founded, Dream Factory, which helps make dreams come true for sick children. We will also have a big BBQ buffet—“Something on the Barbie”—and entertainment on Sept. 25. We hope to see everyone out!
To find out more about Lakeview Village, visit our website, and follow us on Facebook.

drumcircleLakeview Residents learn to drum from Rhythmic Medicine

Mind and Body–Exercise Both (Together) for Maximum Brain Power

By Jackie Halbin
Lakeview Village Living Well manager   jackiehalbin

It seems brain fitness is the buzz these days. There’s a lot of information out there. Some studies tell us that exercise boosts brain power. Others say brain games do. At Lakeview Village, we do both–at the same time.

Our brain fitness cocktail incorporates these four study-based tips:

  • Keep busy: A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people who keep busy are at lower risk of dementia. The study followed a group of older adults for 21 years and found that the busiest participants were 63 percent less likely to develop the disease.
  • Strength train: Another National Institutes of Health study found that twice-a-week resistance or strength training in 70- to 80-year-old women with mild cognitive impairment led to significant improvement in attention and memory ability.
  • Exercise: The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in 2009 that found older adults (mean age 77 years) who were in the top third in terms of getting physical exercise were 61 percent less likely to develop dementia.
  • Sweat it out: The American Physiological Society published a study that showed aerobic exercise, in particular, helped improve executive functioning (e.g. attention and concentration) more than straight memory function.

Why does the combination of keeping busy, exercising regularly and strength training work for your brain? There are many reasons, but here are a few:

  • Fewer stress hormones, which negatively impact brain health
  • Better blood flow
  • More neurogenesis (new neurons being created) – builds up brain reserves
  • Better connections among brain cells
  • Better or more restful sleep
  • Combats depression

Using all of these great studies, Lakeview Village combined physical activity with cognitive activities and have seen the results. We play word games, number games, trivia, and even speak other languages while we exercise. Through these activities, we train participants’ reaction time, multi-tasking ability, memory recall, hand-eye coordination and agility. The result? We have a lot of fun! These classes are very popular and everyone enjoys them. We also mix it up a lot–variety is one of the keys to improving brain fitness; you need to change activities often. Here is a simple fact for you to remember: your brain is like a muscle–you have to work it to keep it strong!

For more information about Lakeview Village’s fitness and wellness initiatives, please contact Jackie Halbin at 913-744-2422 or jhalbin@lakeviewvillage.org.

For more information about Lakeview Village, check out our website, and follow us on Facebook.

Is it Time to Sell the House?

By Emerson Hartzler BoardMember3

I’m not sure exactly when the ownership of single-family dwellings became part of the “American Dream,” but no doubt it was a key part of the dream by the time I was born in 1941. And I’m pretty sure there is a cause-and-effect relationship between that part of the dream and the development of the Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) industry in this country.

Back in the middle of the 20th century, some very enterprising people got the bright idea that the average homeowner might be willing to trade the asset value “trapped” in his or her home for the promise of a lifetime of community living, especially if the community provided a continuum of care, from independent living through skilled, long-term care. After all, a paid-for house is a good thing, but, unlike other “investments,” it doesn’t pay interest or dividends, so the appreciated value can only be cashed in when you sell the house. But then where would you live? You could buy another house, which would likely cost even more (funny how that always seems to be the case), but then the appreciated value is still “locked up” in the property.

So it is no accident that CCRCs typically structure the pricing of their entry fees around the average value of single-family homes sold in their market area. And because, in this country, at least, home ownership is commonplace (Had the Hartzler family stayed in Europe seven generations ago we would probably be renting a “flat” today!), the potential market for CCRCs is enormous. And while I had no problem trading my home equity for a CCRC contract, if I were a renter and had to sell $200,000 or more of appreciating, dividend-paying securities to finance that transaction, I would have had second (and maybe third) thoughts!

While there is often an initial “sticker shock” when seniors see the entry fee pricing for a CCRC, upon further reflection (assuming the home equity is more or less equal to the entry fee), that “trade” of equity for entrance fee may not have any measurable financial impact, either now or anytime in your lifetime. Your need for housing isn’t going away this side of the Pearly Gates, so from a financial perspective, it matters little whether you have equity in your home or a lifetime membership in a CCRC community.

Of course, to be fair, your family home may be a treasured possession for both you and your children. In my case, when Marge and I offered to sell our perfectly good house to our children, all we got was that “Are you stark-raving mad?” look. I suspect that attitude is more the norm in these times of dream homes in the suburbs and luxury urban loft living. So unless your heirs are very much looking forward to moving in when you check out, trading your home equity for a CCRC contract can be done guilt-free!

Now, you may be thinking that even if your heirs don’t want your house, the value of the house would be nice to pass on to them, and you would forfeit that ability if you moved to a CCRC. But here is where the CCRC has a trump card: providing unlimited long-term care. Even if you have a good long-term care insurance policy, it probably won’t cover all of the potential expense of an extended stay in a care facility, which could very easily wipe out your home equity and other assets you intend to pass on to your heirs. At my community, long term care costs are covered by my monthly fee, so I do not need to worry about being hit with those higher rates. A CCRC contract protects a big risk you cannot afford to take, thus preserving the balance of your assets for future generations or causes you might wish to support with your legacy.

The “bottom line” is that the “trade” of your home equity for a CCRC lifetime contract doesn’t really harm your financial position. You are merely trading one non-earning asset for another. And at the same time you are protecting the balance of your estate from the devastating cost of long-term care, a very real risk all seniors face.

So go ahead and call your real estate agent. Home prices are again on the rise!

Emerson Hartzler, MBA, is a Lakeview Village resident, and, though he lives in a retirement community, he continues working as a financial advisor for Triune Financial Partners, LLCat Lighton Plaza, 7300 College Blvd., in Overland Park, Kan. Reach Triune at 913-825-6100.

Learn more about Lakeview Village–the senior neighborhood of choice, and the largest retirement community in Kansas–by visiting our website at lakeviewvillage.org, or checking us out on Facebook.

Lakeview Village Redefines Retirement, Encourages Making New Memories

portrait-ceoIf retirement means catching up on daytime soap operas, playing BINGO and occasionally going out with friends, I have no counter to a recent study that suggests delayed retirement might delay dementia. Stimulation is what delays dementia, and at Lakeview Village, we define retirement by mastering Tai Chi, skydiving out of airplanes, conversing with peers at mealtime, and attending a myriad of social and educational activities.

Countless studies prove that living in an environment like Lakeview Village—that has a daily list of activities as long as my arm—not only delays dementia, but prolongs lives—because we know how to keep seniors active (retirement community residents can live years longer than their aging-in-place peers). This is of particular importance knowing that half of those over age 85 get dementia. My parents entered a retirement community in their mid 60s, and they are still enjoying retirement 20 years later.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia, but prevention comes in many forms: Brain exercise games like those incorporated into our many wellness activities and physical exercise—from word games to outdoor scavenger hunts–work against its onset. As a continuing care retirement community, Lakeview Village provides residents with direct access to healthcare with our on-site geriatric clinic, and in-patient and out-patient rehab services, as well as numerous wellness programs. These provide opportunities for early detection, and early prevention. And if dementia presents itself, we have the programming in place to help residents retain their memories as long as possible.

When I walk through our dining rooms, and hear residents debating politics, or sharing stories from their adventures across the globe, I know that they are defining retirement in the best possible way. When I walk into our state-of-the-art Fitness Center, and witness men and women in their 80s doing cardiovascular and weight training, I know that they are taking care of themselves, and taking charge of their retirement. Are we always on the go? No–everyone needs rest, and we provide all the creature comforts to create a peaceful environment, too. But our golden years aren’t meant to be spent solely sitting in an armchair; we need to do more than that. At Lakeview Village, we play hard, rest easy, and think well for our age.