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2017/2018 North Fulton_03 26 2018

North Fulton CommunityProfiles Magazine 2018

Senior Living in Atlanta

Senior Living in Atlanta By Gwyn Herbein Relocation can happen to anyone, at any time, for any reason. Maybe your dream job just opened up in another state, or you want to be closer to your extended family. Whatever the reason, there are often other considerations that have to be made beyond what neighborhood to live in and where to send the kids to school. Members of the socalled “sandwich generation”—which refers to those who are caring for or supporting both their older parents and their children—are having to strike a delicate balance. In 2013, the Pew Research Center found that 47 percent of adults in the 40s and 50s have both a parent age 65 and older and are either raising a young family or financially supporting a child over the age of 18. Relocation can often mean finding a suitable place for an aging parent to live, or planning for the “what ifs” if a person’s health or ability to live independently changes. Companies like Arbor, Brookdale, Peregrine, Insignia and others operate facilities and resources to help families find the best fit for their loved ones. Beginning the process Today’s senior living facilities go to great lengths to understand the needs of their residents, which goes far beyond their medical history and current medications list. “Our [sales people are] trained in how to discover who the person is, what is this legacy and life story of the individual who is coming to us,” explains Shirley Paulk, R.N., senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Arbor Company. The company operates nine facilities in Georgia, including several in the metro Atlanta area like Decatur, East Cobb, Alpharetta and Johns Creek. “It’s not one size fits all; it’s a very customized approach we have for each individual,” says Paulk. That could mean an adult child coming with their parent, or an older couple who may be beginning to realize they are no longer comfortable living alone in their home. After the initial consultation, Arbor’s senior care counselors make home visits to further understand the personal priorities of the resident and what material items they may want to bring with them to help preserve their memories even while they make new ones. “Our job is to help people see it’s just a bend in the road, a new intersection, rather than the end of the road,” says Paulk. That even includes additional counseling in the case of complicated family dynamics. Each family also has a different dynamic when it comes to making decisions. Sterling Estates, which operates senior living communities in East and West Cobb, has counselors on staff to guide seniors and their adult children through the process. “Furthermore, our websites have a wealth of educational information to help with the decision making process,” says Pete Green, partner at Sterling Estates’ development division, HCC Senior Living Group. The online information speaks to those who know exactly what type of community they need as well as those who are just beginning the process and may be overwhelmed by the options. Finding a home One of the many decisions that must be made is what type of living is right for the resident, even within a facility. Arbor offers independent living, assisted living and memory care. Within the memory care neighborhoods, there are two levels: Bridges, which Paulk describes as being for those in the early stages of cognitive impairment. “It’s a smaller and more intimate setting. By keeping that type of resident together, we can get creative in how we do our programming,” she says. Evergreen is a secured neighborhood for those with more progressive dementia, and both neighborhoods are served by staff specially trained for dementia care. Senior living facilities are also prepared to take on the health challenges that come with aging, regardless of whether they happen slowly or quickly. Arbor facilities constantly communicate with the family and the resident’s primary health care provider when a sudden medical change occurs. Sterling Estates provides a continuum of housing options so that residents can seamlessly transition to other types of housing when their health needs change. “Our Sterling Estates communities have independent residences that are cottages, garden homes and/or apartments. Additionally, our large Main Residences allows for either independent living or assisted living,” explains Green. “Furthermore, couples don’t need to separate when one spouse ages more rapidly.” All Sterling residents have personal emergency transponders to notify staff in case of an emergency, 24/7 nursing care and are near two major hospitals in Cobb. “Third party therapy companies, other health care professionals and doctors are available to treat residents on-site,” adds Green. Living the life Once a family has made the decision to move a loved one into a senior living facility, the focus turns to making the transition as seamless as possible. Before moving to an Arbor facility, families are visited by an engagement counselor who takes the time to learn whether the resident is a person who enjoys quiet time for reading, or a social butterfly. “We believe in deep connections, and taking what we learn about them and connecting them to others,” says Paulk. The information gathered by the engagement counselor helps inform everything from at which dining table the resident will eat meals to who their neighbors will be. Financial counselors are also available to help residents untangle the many intricacies of life insurance, veterans’ benefits and other financial assets that will help pay for care. After the boxes are unpacked, residents are then encouraged to engage in a wide range of activities offered by the facilities. “There are so many daily opportunities to engage within and outside our immediate neighborhoods that foster mental stimulation and enjoyment,” says Green, all of which are part of the “Living a Sterling Life” motto. “’Living a Sterling Life’ is all about promoting and engaging in a healthy lifestyle through nutritious and enjoyable meal plans, exercise tailored to individual needs and providing socialization engagement opportunities for our residents that they otherwise don’t have by living alone,” explains Green. “Our overriding goal is providing our residents the programs and services necessary to remain active and as independent as possible.” Arbor offers art and music studios, rehab and fitness facilities, as well as a beauty salon and libraries. No matter their current or future health needs, metro area seniors and their families can rest assured that there is a facility that is a good fit. From the beginning of the research process through difficult conversations and decisions, today’s senior living facilities are there every step of the way. 26 CommunityProfiles >> 2017

Experience exceptional senior living with access to a continuum of care. Call Stacy at 678-987-0402 today for a confidential appointment. Choice is the rule when it comes to living spaces at St. George Village. Well-appointed independent living residences come in a wide range of one- and two-bedroom floor plans, some with a sunroom or screened porch, plus a choice of lovely design features. We offer an array of services to assist you with every aspect of the moving process, from selecting furnishings from your previous home and coordinating the actual move, to helping you select all of the features that will make your new residence feel just like any dream home. St. George Village, Roswell’s first senior living Life Plan community, offers an energetic, carefree and independent retirement lifestyle. 11350 Woodstock Road, Roswell, GA 30075 (678) 987-0402 | stgeorgevillage.org CommunityProfiles >> 2017 27