While there is not a specific age to qualify an individual as a “senior citizen,” Western cultures typically begin to use this term at ages 60-65. Many who reach this age are still in good health and continue to live independently at home. Others may find themselves in need of some assistance with certain activities, or their health deteriorating due to diseases such as dementia. Regardless of your age and health, or that of a family member’s, it’s never too early to begin planning for senior care.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that we receive from senior living services and facilities is to start planning right away. You never know when care is going to be needed. Unanticipated events, such as a negative diagnosis or an injury, can cause one’s health and independence to diminish quickly.

If the thought of planning for your future or that of your aging loved ones causes you to feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone – that’s why we spoke to experts from senior living businesses and services right here in our community to help you get a better understanding of what is available in the Lincoln area and how they can help you or your loved one continue to thrive in their later stages of life.

Caring Companionship

When people think about home care, they typically think of needing help with showering and dressing, toileting, meal preparation, medication reminders, and other daily living needs for their loved one. While Visiting Angels (visitingangels.com/lincoln) does all of those things, one of the greatest benefits they offer is the companion piece their caregivers add to the daily lives of their clients.

Julie Day
Visiting Angels

“It is always a good idea to meet with us and get information before you actually need the care. Our clients who start early with just a few hours per week are often happier and more confident when their needs grow and they already have a trusted relationship with a reliable company,” explained Julie Day, client care coordinator.

Visiting Angels helps families provide the highest quality of care for their loved ones to help them stay in their homes. They offer companionship, assistance with showering, bathing, dressing, medication reminders, transportation, and cooking. They also offer light housekeeping to their clients. Visiting Angels’ goal is to set clients up for success and help them stay happy and safe wherever they call home.

“We have all heard the saying that two things in life are certain: death and taxes. I would add aging to that equation,” advised Julie. “With medical advances, people are living much longer and should certainly plan for a successful aging experience. Visiting Angels is there to assist families and put a plan in place that will ensure their safety and security while allowing them to stay in the home they love.”

Julie explained that it’s common for clients to add extra time to their shifts for socialization. This is a great opportunity for a senior to bond with their caregiver. Even if a client has a spouse who lives with and cares for them, it is beneficial to have another individual they look forward to seeing and interacting with. Plus, this allows the spouse or loved one to step away and do some things they may need to do.

“Visiting Angels caregivers can be there to help when family can’t. Many people who care for an older adult still work full time, travel, or have other time consuming commitments that prevent them from being with their loved one at key times,” said Julie. “Whether you are just stopping in to see your loved one several times per week or if you live together full-time, you have a lot on your plate. Having a Visiting Angel helps caretakers equally as much as their loved one who is receiving the care. Any time we spend with a client is extra time their family gets to once again be a spouse, a daughter or son, or a friend. Some of our clients need their “Angel” to assist with a shower, meal and medication reminder to get them going for the day. Others need transportation for errands or doctor appointments. Some families have us fill in when they go out of town or on a more regular basis so they can plan their own personal errands.”

Endless Benefits

Dan Klein
The Waterford Communities

The Waterford Communities (thewaterford.net) is comprised of three different senior living homes: Williamsburg Campus and College View Campus, both of which are assisted living communities, and Wilderness Hills Memory Care. Each home provides a high staff-to-resident ratio, daily home-cooked meals, regular housekeeping, and security, among other features to give you peace of mind. We spoke to Dan Klein at The Waterford, who touched on a topic that nearly all of us will have to discuss at some point in our lives: Deciding the right time to consider assisted living for aging parents.

“While it’s crucial that you talk with them about assisted living, get their opinion, and try to make decisions with their wishes in mind, there may come a time when an aging parent is no longer safe living at home alone,” began Dan. “In those situations, it’s tough to make the decision to move them into a place with adequate care – especially if they’re against the idea.”

Some of the warning signs to look for that will let you know whether or not assisted living is a necessity:

  • Not eating enough food, or enough of the right foods
  • Experiencing a bad fall or being at risk for a fall
  • Wandering or forgetting to take a medication
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Cluttered or dirty living spaces

“Many families realize that their parents and grandparents simply need more support than they can easily provide. Unfortunately, there’s only so much one person can do before their own quality of life begins to suffer severely,” shared Dan. “Assisted living communities and their staff act like an extension of your family. They step up to fill in the gap between ‘need’ and ‘ability’ that arises as our loved ones age. The truth is everyday life tends to become more difficult throughout retirement, especially when living alone, managing a specialized diet, or suffering from chronic illnesses.”

Assisted living communities offer physical benefits as they help to significantly relieve the burden presented by aging bodies. They aim to minimize falls, emphasize mobility and accessibility, and support their residents’ independent movements by installing sloped ramps, hand railings, raised commodes, walk-in showers, and bathroom grab bars. Proper senior nutrition is another big benefit of assisted living. Ensuring seniors receive enough key vitamins and minerals each day to support their health is always a top priority of The Waterford Communities.

“Social connection is another benefit of assisted living communities, and they make a tremendous effort to stave off social isolation in seniors,” said Dan. “They encourage residents to socialize by providing many opportunities to take part in various group activities, such as movie nights, card and board games, book clubs, art and music groups, and crafting sessions. If your family member is feeling isolated or in need of support with everyday activities, then we hope you’ll reach out to learn more about our assisted living options. We’re certain they’ll feel right at home in one of our communities.”

An Exciting and Unique Option

Tabitha (tabitha.org) is unique from other older adult living providers, as a resident’s stay at Tabitha is completely curated specifically to each individual’s needs. From independent or assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, inpatient rehabilitation, and residential-style skilled nursing and long-term care, Tabitha’s dedicated Continuum Navigation team assists each client and their family in finding the best fit. With communities in the heart of Lincoln, south Lincoln, Crete, and now Grand Island with the newly opened Tabitha at Prairie Commons, there are many options for those seeking Tabitha’s resources.

If a permanent move to Tabitha isn’t necessary, Tabitha Home Health Care or Hospice provides care to clients in their own home or place of residence. In 2021, Tabitha established a collaboration with Immanuel to begin offering hospice services to the Omaha region as well.

S2age Living by Tabitha is another exciting endeavor that is currently under construction and slated to open in fall 2023. The first-of-its-kind in-the-nation intergenerational living community will soon be home for older adults and Bryan Health Science Students, located in the heart of Lincoln on Tabitha’s Main Campus.

Aubrey Paulsen

“It can be a daunting task to understand all the options available in terms of resources for older adults,” said Aubrey Paulsen, Tabitha Living Advisor Manager. “We know everyone’s aging journey is different, and that’s why Tabitha’s committed experts are here to walk each client and their families through uncharted territory – moving into a living community, starting home health care services or whatever their unique situation requires.”

The Life Enrichment teams at Tabitha go above and beyond to keep residents engaged, energized and entertained. Recently, Tabitha in Crete residents and family members were able to attend The Christmas Story: A Musical by Beatrice Community Players all thanks to the planning of a dedicated team. Another notable event is Dream Flights, where veteran residents enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime plane ride over Lincoln skies, including over Memorial Stadium and the State Capitol. Other warmer weather activities include picnics to fishing trips to wilderness safari tours. Daily exercise activities and mentally stimulating games and challenges are offered daily to Tabitha residents.

“No one wants to be faced with the fact that they’re aging, much less that it’s time to look into more supportive living options,” Aubrey explained. “However, it is crucial to have plans, even if not fully developed, in place for the future. Do the research well before it’s time to make a permanent move into a community; comparing everything from location, services offered and food quality to enrichment activities and living quarters can help families find the perfect fit.”

Tabitha is locally based and community centered – as it has always been since its founding in 1886. It offers the most complete continuum of care for older adults in Nebraska and is headed by experts who are fully dedicated to providing quality care to their clients. In turn, Tabitha’s continuum of care is in place to anticipate future needs and seamlessly provide care as needs evolve while ensuring older adults accomplish their lifestyle goals.

Personalized Care

Nestled in the cozy, Near South neighborhood in Lincoln, Sumner Place Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation (sumnerplacecare.com) is a skilled nursing facility that offers short-term rehabilitation, memory support, and long-term care. What sets Sumner Place apart is their culture and home-like environment. Whether it is sleeping in until 10 o’clock in the morning or going on social outings in the community to the zoo, the Sunken Gardens, or bowling, Sumner Place focuses on personalized care.

Megan Herter
Sumner Place Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation

“We offer many different services to benefit our residents including our restorative program, therapy programs, full-time dietician, spiritual services, rounds by our medical director, and Dreamweavers partnership, just to name a few,” said Megan Herter, admissions and public relations coordinator. “Our annual events such as Senior Prom, Dog Pageant, or the Sumner Place Picnic offer the ‘Family Serving Family’ feel that we are committed to. Sumner Place also uses Buddies Forever, which is a comprehensive dementia program. Using techniques and skills such as getting down below eye level, using simple statements, and endorphin boosts can create a foundation for person-centered care. A program that we are also certified in is Music & Memory, which taps into the long-term memory, an area of the brain unharmed by dementia. Selecting the appropriate music for each resident triggers pleasurable emotions from their past.”

Megan shared with us a few things that can increase one’s chance to live independently and safely for as long as possible. Increased socialization, availability for healthcare, routine visits to the doctor, life enrichment programs, and/or meaningful work/volunteering all contribute to improved quality of life. However, whenever the time comes for your loved one to move into a higher level of care, Sumner Place will be ready to take them in as their own.

“When visitors and family members walk through our doors, they always comment on how welcoming and inviting our facility feels,” shared Megan. “We hear people say, ‘It feels different.’ We feel different because we are different. People learn from interacting with us that they can trust us to be who we say we are and do what we say we’ll do.”

Going Beyond the Standard

Senior living communities aren’t one-size-fits-all, which is why Legacy Retirement Communities (legacyretirement.com) offers four wonderful locations around Lincoln. This includes The Legacy at 56th and Pioneers; The Legacy Estates at 72nd and Van Dorn; The Legacy Terrace at 57th and Fremont; and The Legacy Arbors, also located at The Legacy Terrace campus. The Legacy Arbors is a memory care community while the other three locations offer independent and assisted living options.

Kyle Yates
Legacy Retirement Community

“Our mission at Legacy Retirement Communities is to provide an independent lifestyle that also caters to the needs we face when we age,” shared Kyle Yates, senior living advisor. “Our assisted living options at each location allow us to go beyond the standard care of independent living, while still providing a comfortable living environment.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Legacy has implemented new ways to engage their residents, ensure their happiness, keep them active, and focus on their overall well-being. From building elaborate outdoor patio spaces, getting a shuffleboard table, and having Legacy’s enrichment staff engage and connect with the residents, they have opened up their routines to allow for more fun.

Kyle also touched on the topic of planning for retirement living, and how you can approach something that may come off as intimidating with all of the available options and decisions that come with them.

“Gathering information about retirement living options is something that should be done a day at a time,” Kyle explained. “Trying to learn everything at once will leave most people reaching for the headache medicine. It’s important to know what you value and hope to get out of each community you visit. Knowing what’s important to you and finding something that really aligns with your core values will leave you feeling happier with your decision.

“Our goal is to help people find the right fit,” Kyle continued. “Whether they end up at one of our communities or not, we will always serve them and help point them in the right direction. All of us at Legacy hope to continue serving each person we meet with dignity, respect, compassion, and integrity.”

“Our goal is to help people find the right fit,” Kyle continued. “Whether they end up at one of our communities or not, we will always serve them and help point them in the right direction. All of us at Legacy hope to continue serving each person we meet with dignity, respect, compassion, and integrity.”

Home Care and Care Management

The caregivers at Home Care Partners (homecarepartnersofnebraska.com) dedicate their professional lives to caring for others and providing them with the greatest quality of life, wherever they call home. Home care is an option for families who are looking for support and care management in their health care continuum.

Karla Frese
Home Care Partners

“Our services give families peace of mind to allow their loved one to stay in their familiar place and avoid a move at this time,” said Managing Partner Karla Frese. “This will often allow a senior to stay in their home or in their independent or assisted living setting without the need to move to a higher level of care. Our partnerships within the healthcare community allow us to provide care together in the home setting to help reduce hospital readmissions and to promote health and healing.”

Home Care Partners offers a care manager who will help organize appointments and provide consultation, assessment, planning, and evaluation with the right professional at the right time. The care manager also supports the family by creating a plan of care, building a care team, medication management, and assistance with long-term care policies.

“The shared focus and oversight on health, home management, and maintenance keep everyone on the same page – without one person getting burned out,” explained Karla. “For example, when there are multiple appointments, a caregiver can transport mom or dad to an appointment for hearing, vision, foot care, hair, etc., and the daughter or son can save their day off for other important commitments.”

Home Care Partners invites you to reach out to them today to learn more about how their services can benefit your family.

More than Housing

When looking for independent senior-living options that include opportunities for engagement, check out the Lincoln Housing Authority (l-housing.com). They pride themselves on providing “more than housing” and nowhere is that more evident than at Burke Plaza, Crossroads House, and Mahoney Manor, where more than 270 older adults reside and have access to a wide variety of social and personal support services through the Resident Services and Congregate Housing Services programs. The foundation for the Resident Services Program is the Resident Services Specialist at each building. Their job is to provide general support to residents and offer a range of activities and programs to enhance the overall quality of life at each building. The Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) brings the services of two full-time social workers who share time between all buildings. These social workers are able to work with individuals who need additional supportive services such as case management, personal care, house-keeping assistance, and transportation.

The Foundation for the Resident Services Program is the Resident Services Specialist at each building. Their job is to provide general support to residents and offer a range of activities and programs to enhance the overall quality of life at each building. Activities range between pot-luck meals and garage sales to shopping trips and movie nights. They also plan and educate the tenants on the building’s emergency and urgent-response systems. The Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) brings the services of two full-time social workers, who share time between all buildings. These social workers are able to work with individuals who need additional supportive services such as case management, personal care, house-keeping assistance, and transportation. The CHSP also serves hot meals six days a week in the dining rooms at Burke Plaza and Mahoney Manor.

Avoid Extra Pain

At Arthritis Relief Specialists of Lincoln (arthritisreliefspecialists.com), they help people suffering with osteoarthritis of the knee eliminate their knee pain without surgery. In addition, they incorporate preventative measures into their treatment approach so their patients can avoid future episodes of knee pain. Arthritis Relief Specialists provides specialized medical services exclusively for people looking for ways to quickly and easily end their chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis and the most common joint condition worldwide. In the U.S. alone, OA accounts for more than 25% of all visits to primary care providers and half of all anti-inflammatory during prescriptions. Joint replacement surgery, once considered a last resort, is expected to reach 3.4 million cases by the year 2030, an increase of 673% since 2006. Replacing your natural joint with an artificial joint can lead to complications such as blood clots, infection, pain in other joints, and long recovery times due to limited range of motion.

In light of these complications, there is some good news. Relief from your knee pain and lost function can be achieved using a promising nonsurgical technique. The Advanced Arthritis Relief Protocol is an FDA approved medical breakthrough for pain associated with osteoarthritis. The procedure actually prevents cartilage breakdown, promotes tissue growth, and restores function to the affected joint. Studies published in several prestigious medical journals cite decreases in joint pain, cartilage destruction, and bone damage along with improvements in function.

If you’ve tried everything to get rid of your knee pain and have been told your only other option is joint replacement surgery, here’s news: Arthritis Relief Specialists of Lincoln has developed a knee arthritis treatment program specifically designed for people looking for a way to stay active, eliminate their pain and stiffness, and avoid joint replacement surgery.

To help you get a clear picture of what your life could be without chronic and severe arthritis pain, they invite you to schedule a FREE consultation. In less than an hour, you’ll receive an assessment of your problem and provided with the best recommendations you’ll need to recover quickly and begin enjoying the life you know you deserve.

A Community for You

Family-owned, faith-based company AmanaCare (amana-care.com) has a mission to serve seniors and disabled adults all throughout Nebraska. On the surface, they provide non-medical assistance in the comfort of their clients’ homes, but their services go beyond just that of ordinary caregiving. AmanaCare focuses on fostering the relationship between their clients and their caregivers.

“We believe family/community engagement is crucial for maintaining a happy life at home!” said Sara Jeffery, retention specialist. “Our team is dedicated to keeping our clients active in the things that bring them joy, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood enjoying the sights and sounds of nature, or a trip to a local museum or market. Our clients make appearances at staff birthday parties and team events and if they can’t come to us, our owners may just stop by with lunch and a friendly hello!”

AmanaCare is expanding quickly, but at their core, they’re still a family-owned company. They deliver professional services with a personal touch and strive to make their clients feel like part of their family. They believe their employees are their greatest assets, and organization-wide focuses include training and on-the-job mentorship to help their employees grow both personally and professionally. In addition, AmanaCare regularly shows their appreciation for their employees through retirement parties, birthday celebrations, and other staff outings. Sara says that happy staff members lead to happier clients!

“Home care is about more than just housekeeping,” Sara concluded. “At AmanaCare, we realize that there’s a difference between staying home and thriving at home! We focus on all areas of care to ensure our clients remain happy and safe and exactly where they want to be.”

A Soft Place to Land

Imagine coming home to a warm, friendly community that’s luxurious, safe, and comfortable, in a great location for fun local outings. Maintenance and housekeeping is included, and every meal is made fresh by the culinary team. With all the work done, you have time for family, friends, and the important things in life. That can be your life at Savannah Pines Retirement Resort (rlcommunities.com/communities/nebraska/savannah-pines-retirement)!

Designed for comfort, apartments come in a variety of floor plans. Each apartment features window coverings, climate-controlled thermostat, and ample closet space. Apartment kitchens are equipped with full-sized appliances.

The best feature is the live-in community manager team. They live on site to help take care of everything so residents and families can enjoy their best life.

Savannah Pines Retirement Resort is full of amenities, allowing residents to delight in the conveniences without the hassle of upkeep. All utilities and the following are included:

  • No buy-in/month-to-month rent
  • Weekly housekeeping
  • Freedom Dining program
  • Concierge services
  • Studios, 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms
  • Full designer apartment kitchens
  • 150-seat theater
  • Pets warmly welcomed
  • 24/7 alert system

Residents can relax at the movies or live entertainment in the theater. At Savannah Pines Retirement Resort, the lifestyle director schedules activities designed to meet resident’s requests. Ultimately, companionship with others is a powerful tool to help the residents at Savannah Pines appreciate retirement.

Affordable Home Care

At Caring Friends In Home Care (caringfriendsinhomecare.com), they are committed to providing exceptional trusted care at home, and always going above and beyond. They passionately want the best for their clients, and always deliver care in familiar surroundings. Their team has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare field. Your care will be directed by you and your own individualized choices. Many of their seniors are striving to stay engaged, happy, and active in their community.

Caring Friends can help with these goals by taking walks together on a visit, attending an exercise program at a local senior center, assisting with preparing healthy meals, and giving reminders to stay hydrated. They strive to meet all your loved ones’ needs. Caring Friends can give medication reminders, assist to cook meals, manage doctor’s appointments, and help keep schedules. Some ways to keep their seniors active and engaged include staying busy with games and puzzles. Engaging and stimulating indoor games and puzzles can help seniors stay active and motivated. Board games or puzzles require handling pieces and are wonderful opportunities for seniors to stimulate their minds, while keeping their hands nimble. Caring Friends can help with taking on an appropriate exercise program tailored to meet your physical abilities. Staying active through movement improves emotional well-being and promotes good health. There are many options for low-impact exercises that are free of charge and possible to do at home. Incorporating exercise into the daily routine will help seniors experience increased energy levels and maintain their health.

Virginia Cole
Caring Friends in Home Care

“Caring Friends can assist in designing individualized plans of care and services that meet the individual’s needs,” shared Virginia Cole, COO. “If those needs change and require medical services or services beyond our scope, we have community organizations that we can partner with to ensure a continuum of care. If the individual or their family makes the decision that it is time to relocate to a different setting for care, Caring Friends will follow the individual in their new setting to assist in making the transition more comfortable.”

The saying “The early bird gets the worm” has been around for years, but even today that saying rings true when deciding the right timing of bringing in some in-home care for your loved ones. Begin thinking about home care before your loved one needs it. You don’t want to be put in a position where you’re reacting to sudden problems. The talk is hard enough as it is sometimes, so the more priming you can do before home care is needed, the less resistant your loved one will be when the time comes. Consider your loved one’s specific needs.

While priming your loved one for the idea of home care, you should do everything you can to ascertain what your loved one needs. Talk to friends and family. Word-of-mouth and personal experience are valuable. Selecting an agency for home care services must be an informed decision. Contact local agencies and conduct interviews to learn more about each agency and how they compare.

At Caring Friends In Home Care, they are there to help assist with daily needs. Their caregivers encourage participation and engagement as much as possible. This is what they call collaborative caregiving. Caring Friends’ goal is to develop a relationship with their clients and help keep them physically and mentally active. They believe in-home care is more than just completing tasks on a list. They offer personalized care that helps clients enjoy their time and improve their quality of life. By focusing on collaborative caregiving, they can elevate the quality of clients and their families’ lives.

“The leadership of Caring Friends has over 100 years of combined senior care experience,” said Virginia. “At the end of the day, our goal is to help individuals keep their independence – sometimes; all you need is a little assistance from a friend with the value of excellence at home!”

Everyone wants to continue to be healthy and live comfortably as they age. These local businesses and experts have the tools and resources to help you and your loved one do just that. From assisted living communities to home care to health and wellness, they each have so much more for senior living than what we can fit on paper, so be sure to reach out to them to learn more about what they can offer to you and your family.