When it comes to planning for retirement, one thing is for sure: It’s easy to put it off for another day.
Recent findings from a research study by McGregor Senior Living underscore this reality. “Overall, people tend to deny and fear aging,” explains Lee Ann O’Brien, chief marketing officer for McGregor. She helps educate seniors and their families about planning for the future and selecting the right senior living options. Located on a 45-acre estate overlooking downtown Cleveland, McGregor aims to help older adults live their best lives and build a lifestyle that suits their individual needs. To that end, it offers a continuum of services from independent and assisted living to skilled nursing care. It also has a rehabilitation facility, a hospice program and a community-based homecare program known as PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.) McGregor is the only PACE partner in the state of Ohio.
McGregor is a “life plan community,” meaning that residents can seamlessly age in place and not have to move if medical needs change. What’s more, McGregor is a mission-driven nonprofit provider, which can allow more flexibility and personalization than some corporate outfits. In fact, nonprofit senior living earned the most favorable ratings in their recent focus group research. Today, the average stay in assisted living is about 18 months and, as life expectancy increases, people are waiting longer to move. Yet, O’Brien points out that starting the process earlier can often extend good health and quality of life. She recognizes that people would rather not think about aging and needing help, but the more one can plan for the future, the better. “Plan while you are fully able to make the choices that you want so they are not made for you,” she says. “We plan for college, for vacations, for so many things. Too often, I see adult children wondering, ‘What does mom or dad really want?’”
O’Brien also spends a lot of time in the community educating adult children who may need help with a parent or grandparent and other things to consider when selecting senior living. “It’s important to build a relationship with any organization that you are exploring and connect so you can make an educated decision,” she says. O’Brien suggests asking about things like staff retention and turnover. Look beyond the landscaped grounds and see if residents seem happy. Observe how they interact with staff and one another. Also, review financial criteria. Some places are able to accommodate residents if their financial resources run out, while others may not, and people have to move again. “Don’t shy away from visiting these places and talking to people,” she adds. “What you may think may not always match the reality.”
On its website, McGregor provides a comprehensive checklist of things to consider when visiting a senior residence and builds on a 145-year mission of helping people age while living life to the fullest. “Use us as an ally. We can help you plan to cover the things that you did not think about or questions you should ask,” adds O’Brien. “Secure a place in a community that brings together lifelong care that has planned for your senor living needs. McGregor has a long legacy of doing just that!”