It’s the time in life everyone looks forward to when they begin their working career — the day they will be able to stop working. Though it’s supposed to be a time of relaxation, a time when we can stop worrying about the day-to-day issues we faced during our younger years, it can also be daunting. After years of going to the same office and coming home at the same time, we are suddenly forced to confront our fear of the unknown.
We may not have to rise at dawn to fit all the necessary tasks into one day, but now we have to worry about taking care of our aging bodies, making sure we stay active in a social scene — since we don’t have the workplace watercooler to gather around anymore — and staying on top of our interests so we don’t feel irrelevant in today’s ever more technological world. What should be done about that big empty house that used to be filled with kids and their neverending activities? Is moving into a retirement community — where peace of mind comes with knowing we’ll be surrounded day and night by caregivers who can help us navigate the aging process — the right choice?
There’s much to consider, and as the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement, it’s increasingly important to consider it, for those close to or in their senior years, as well as for younger generations who can learn from their parents and grandparents about what is inevitably in store for them.
As our bodies age, we need to learn new ways to take care of them. New ailments come with uncertainty, but we don’t have to confront it alone. Organizations and services abound to help us as we deal with a new reality that may include eyes that don’t see quite as clearly, ears that can’t hear every sound, joints that ache and creak, and a body that might just need a little help from time to time. While the state of our health may be uncomfortable and at times frustrating, help is out there — it’s just a matter of finding it.
When we leave behind the working world and embark on a more relaxing and serene existence, it’s important to remember how crucial it is to maintain a vibrant social life. While it may be a relief not to have to worry about making that quota at the office or getting through an intimidating yearly review, it’s easy to forget that when we leave the office for the last time, we leave behind its built-in social network, as well. If you’re lucky enough to have friends outside the workplace that you see often, you might not notice much of a change in your social calendar. If, however, you’ve relied on seeing your coworkers’ faces day in and day out for your social interaction, it’s time to seek out the abundant resources available that will help you meet new people and stay part of a social scene.
Then there’s the ever-present question that gnaws at so many seniors as they reach an age when having a big house as home base for a growing family no longer makes as much sense. When the upkeep of a home with more bedrooms than you could possibly occupy at one time becomes more trouble than it’s worth, what’s the answer? Gone are the days when the only solutions involved either moving in with grown children or — worse yet — a state-run nursing home where residents spend their remaining years wiling away the hours. These days, the options are abundant, ranging from resort-style communities featuring a full calendar of social and educational activities to homes where even those with more severe health concerns, like memory loss, can still lead an active, vibrant lifestyle. And for those who are not ready to leave behind the home they built, services to help you stay put, while keeping your health and safety in mind, are plentiful.
In the following pages, you’ll find information addressing those concerns we all face as we age. And we should count ourselves lucky — we are living in an age when it is possible more than ever to live full, active, dynamic lives for as long as we can, allowing us to truly enjoy and look forward to retirement and beyond.
Find the right place
Finding the right place to move into after you decide your big home is no longer worth the upkeep can be a daunting task. Downsizing decades of memories is hard enough, and taking a leap of faith with your happiness can be downright intimidating, especially considering the broad spectrum of choices. Here is a sampling of what La Jolla has to offer those looking to make the switch from being alone in an empty house to being part of an active community of seniors.
A Place for Mom
Selecting the perfect senior living facility can be a complex process that is particularly stressful when families wait until crisis hits. Senior living referral service, A Place for Mom, helps narrow down options by factoring in geographic location, budget, the family’s needs and amenities desired to help streamline the process and zero in on the right living facility for a loved one. The localized resource offers highly trained and deeply knowledgeable advisors who help walk families through every step of the process in one-on-one consultations, offering personalized guidance based on the family’s needs. Visit www.aplaceformom.com for tips, checklists and detailed information about various types of care or to access specific documents necessary for senior living, care planning and guides to available financial resources or call (877) 854-3557 to connect with a local advisor.
Casa de Manana
Located just steps from the sand, residents get more than just sweeping coastal views and upscale resort-style living. The community gives seniors the freedom to live as independently as they wish with recreational fitness, dining and health-care options, as well as an on-site wellness clinic, full-service assisted-living options and a variety of accommodation selections.
849 Coast Blvd., (800) 959-7010
Residents are offered a continuum of services in a setting overlooking the Pacific. White Sands’ customizable programs range from independent living to assisted living, memory care, nursing care and even an option to stay at home and receive the help of an in-home assistant to help with light tasks like housekeeping, bathing and dressing, and preparing meals.
7450 Olivetas Ave., (858) 869-0029, www.bewhitesands.org
Tucked away on its own 40-acre residential oasis atop Mount Soledad, this community may be right for those seeking a serene garden setting with a number of on-site social, cultural and educational opportunities to choose from. Independent living in a close-knit community can transition into assisted living, with licensed nurses on site around the clock.
2404 Loring St., (858) 274-4110 www.wesleypalms.org
The University City-based luxury retirement community offers a modern, cosmopolitan environment with all-inclusive resort-style amenities like a full-service salon and spa, guest suites for overnight visitors, alfresco dining areas, an indoor swimming pool and fully-stocked lounges, community rooms and social spaces throughout the high rise. The property features 403 independent living apartments, 36 assisted-living apartments, 23 memory-support suites and 60 skilled-nursing suites.
8515 Costa Verde Blvd., (888) 860-7434, www.viliving.com-/communities/lajolla
Right Choice Senior Living
With small, six-bed homes located in both University City and Clairemont, Right Choice offers individualized assisted-living, respite, hospice and memory care, with options ranging from senior day care to full-time residential living. Certain pets are welcome and veterans may qualify for a VA benefit.
4232 Balboa Ave., (619) 246-2003
Sunrise Senior Living
Featuring 50 apartment units, Sunrise offers assisted living, Alzheimer’s and memory care, and short-term stays. Daily physical fitness, as well as activities and group trips are part of the program, and dining options include up to three meals a day. Trained staff is available 24 hours a day, and wellness visits by licensed nurses occur monthly.
810 Turquoise St., (858) 488-4300
With locations in Del Mar, La Jolla and Mount Soledad, Treetops features smaller facilities offering personal care with two on-call physicians and two live-in caregivers for up to six patients. Pets are allowed and each home features private gardens, with care for Alzheimer’s, dementia and hospice patients, as well as independent living, assisted living and nursing care.
2509 Ardath Road, 2231 Via Anita, (858) 459-4845
Adjacent to Doyle Park in University City, The Patrician offers what it describes as “boutique hotel” living for seniors. Pets are allowed in the independent living facility, which features fully equipped apartments, two daily meals and a calendar full of social activities. Wellness programs are a central part of The Patrician’s mission, with exercise classes, innovative therapy and intergenerational activities on the menu.
4025 Pulitzer Place, (858) 455-9188
Pacific Regent La Jolla
The Pacific Regent La Jolla calls its residents’ lifestyles “un-retirement living.” Featuring a fitness center with a heated pool and spa, tennis courts, manicured grounds, gated entry and valet service, the independent-living community offers one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, top-notch dining and a thriving social calendar. Pets allowed.
3890 Nobel Drive, (858) 597-8000
Chateau La Jolla Inn
Consisting of three French Normandy-style buildings overlooking the Pacific, the Chateau La Jolla Inn offers studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments for independent seniors. Features include complimentary breakfast with optional additional dining plans, complimentary limousine service, a heated therapy pool and a social calendar that includes creative and educational classes. For those who aren’t ready to move into a retirement community full time, monthly and seasonal leases are also available.
233 Prospect St., (858) 459-4451
Healthcare and in-home services
Since 1997, Innovative Healthcare Consultants has helped individuals and families deal with the challenges of aging. The company’s team of geriatric-care managers is comprised of registered nurses who have expertise in disease processes, medication management and behavior disorders and backgrounds in areas such as geriatric-psych, cardiac ICU, rehabilitation, home health and insurance or worker’s compensation. Innovative Healthcare Consultants connects individuals to a qualified care manager who provides a lifelong support system to help them deal with the daunting maze of healthcare rights and services. For more information, visit www.innovativehc.com or call (877) 731-1442.
Helping an aging loved one’s transition to another home or facility can be intimidating and frustrating. To aid that process, local entrepreneur Will Fuller launched Caring Transitions, a business designed to help reduce the stress and anxiety by providing expert guidance on all phases of transitioning, including senior relocation, de-cluttering a residence, downsizing a home, preserving family heirlooms and organizing estate sales, among other things. They work with families to plan for the new residence and clean out the entire home. For more information, call (858) 768-2000 or visit www.EstateMoveLaJollaCA.com.
Always Professional Senior Care provides five graduated steps of in-home services. While some may only need a little help with the basics like meal preparation or running errands, others require higher levels of specialized live-in care like feeding or catheter changing. The La Jolla-based company offers a range of services, including senior-enrichment activities to extended in-home care coupled with expertise from a registered nurse to ensure the most effective support. For more information, visit www.alwayspsc.com or call (858) 454-9400.
Mission Healthcare, an innovative healthcare organization, has been providing in-home care and nursing with its Home Health, Home Care and Hospice divisions since 2009. In addition, Mission partners with ElderHelp, a nonprofit that helps seniors live in the comfort of their own homes, to make sure that all seniors, regardless of financial considerations, have access to in-home care.
De-cluttering tips from Caring Transitions La Jolla
Create a Plan
• Keep your space plan visible
• DO NOT keep too much. Focus on your new home space, not the old.
• Set a specific day and time to work on de-cluttering and downsizing (avoid disruptions, phone calls and appointments during this time).
• Keep your materials handy — markers, tape, boxes, bags, bins, labels, etc.
• Schedule professional help
• Define the area you are going to de-clutter and do not move on to the next until this is complete.
• Establish piles with signs or boxes
• Take “before” pictures
• “Moving” pile: these stay where they are to be packed for moving to a different space or new home
• “Gifting” pile: put recipient’s name on it. Make a mailing label.
• “Donate” pile: record the item for tax reasons
• “Sell” pile: Leave it where it is until a professional establishes the price, prepares it, cleans it, photographs or displays it for sale
• “Toss” pile: once you decide to throw something out, don’t second guess it. Let it go.
• Schedule pick ups
• Make a trip to post office
• Schedule hazardous waste drop off
• Schedule estate sale professional
• Contract dumpster or trash hauler
• Transport other items to auction house, charity, consignment, library, etc.
• Don’t add new clutter. Use the “one in, one out” rule
• Use up any excess canned goods, dry goods and cleaning supplies
• No new purchases should be made until after you de-clutter