Senior Living in MA

Senior Living considerations for the adult child of elderly parents.

  • Jul 3

    Are your elderly loved ones technophobes, or technologically timid? Have they eschewed the computer as something for your generation, and not theirs? If so, your family is not unique in that regard. That’s a very common phenomenon. Knowing it’s common doesn’t alleviate the frustration of trying to keep in touch with parents whether they live in their own homes or in assisted living communities.

    Many of us who fall into the category of “adult children” of seniors practically live on email and other “messaging” systems like texting, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Our corporate work environments hold email in nearly the same regard as our elderly mom or dad would a notarized document. Tradesmen and women rely on email to schedule jobs for their small businesses, and on the web in general to find new customers. Often, we’d love to touch base with our elderly family in between meetings or service calls, but can’t spare the time to give even a brief conversation the full attention it deserves–an unfortunate reality of our over-booked, over-scheduled, micro-managed world.

    Sending a quick email has become our defacto replacement of the old postcard, only thousands of times more convenient.

    The convenience doesn’t matter a bit if your intended recipient doesn’t use a computer. Buying a computer for an elderly parent who resists the idea doesn’t make a lot of sense to most people, either. Email options for people who don’t own their own computer then become limited to the free accounts available on advertising-supported sites such as Yahoo, Gmail and AOL.

    Teaching Mom or Dad to Use Email

    Do you have the patience to teach your elderly mom or dad about accessing an email account on an Internet-based service laden with advertising and spam? If they don’t own a computer, how often is it that they would get to the public library to log in? Chances are that many of your lessons would be forgotten due to lack of practice, and understandably so.

    However, if your mom or dad has moved into a particular assisted living community in Danvers, Massachusetts that provides Connected Living to its residents, they would be able to use a messaging system that was created for senior citizens. It’s an invitation-only system that requires that you be invited by the senior. This means no spammer can find their “email” address, yet you would be able to send them notes and pictures of the grandchildren with the convenience you’re used to.

    Even if your mom or dad don’t own a computer, this community has put in a computer “lab” exclusively for their residents. If you doubt your mom or dad’s ability to grasp the concepts behind the messaging system, there’s no reason to worry. The Connected Living service in this Danvers community provides several hours per month of “Ambassador” services. Connected Living Ambassadors personally help seniors log in to and use the messaging system.

    The transition between living at home and when elderly family members move to retirement communities involves plenty of new challenges. Communicating with your elderly family member shouldn’t be one of them.

    So if you are considering an assisted living community in Massachusetts, and live near Danvers, be sure to ask if they offer Connected Living to their residents.

  • May 22

    Whether in Danvers, MA, or other towns, most people decide on a Senior Living Community for their elder loved one based on three well-known factors:

      Community “feel”

    The first two, price and location, are pretty straightforward.  If you search the Internet for information on the communities, you’ll find plenty of nice pictures of beautifully landscaped, attractive buildings with a glowing description.   That paragraph or two, though, can’t really communicate the “feel.”

    Often how the community feels to the family during a tour is the make-or-break factor in the final decision.   There’s no second chance to make a first impression, and a caring family will notice whether the staff seems naturally upbeat, whether the residents, the people likely to be their mother’s or father’s new friends, seem happy or depressed.

    So if these are universal, why the focus on Danvers, MA?

    A Senior Living Community in Danvers has Connected Living

    One senior living community in Danvers has implemented a new program that has had a large impact on the Quality of Life of their residents, and has invigorated their community: Connected Living from the young company MyWay Village.

    Arising from the experience of its founders when caring for elderly relatives, Connected Living is a service offering that engages the senior residents of a community and helps them stay connected to their families.

    Connected Living “ambassadors” lead group discussions on topics relevant and interesting to the residents.  These discussions are based on what the folks at MyWay Village call their proprietary “curriculum.”  They have developed presentations based on historical events and trends that occurred throughout the lifetimes of the residents, and have the residents “complete the stories” with their own life experience during that time.

    Very natural and lively discussions arise, and the ambassadors incorporate new information relevant to the discussions in real time through Internet searches… even if it means finding a recording of an old song on YouTube.   While providing background to the discussion, this also introduces many of the elderly residents to technology and the Internet in a very non-threatening way.  Many interesting life stories have been revealed, and new friendships formed as a result of residents getting to know each other better through these guided discussions.

    Another important element of Connected Living is the secure electronic messaging system available to all residents of a community.  It differs from normal email in that any external party must be invited through the Connected Living system.  As a result, and often with Ambassador assistance, residents can get photos of their children and grandchildren as well as family update messages.  So far, when a community has signed on with MyWay for Connected Living, My Way has installed two or more computers in community “computer labs.”

    One harsh reality of aging includes the loss of peer groups…  And decreased mobility leads to further isolation before finally moving in to an independent or assisted living community.  When residents of a community get to know each other they rebuild their social connection, which has many benefits that are being proven through studies published nearly every month.   With Connected Living “classes,” seniors meet many of their fellow residents quickly, and this helps ease the often difficult transition into community living.

    So, if you are evaluating a senior living community for your elderly family member or loved one, ask if they have Connected Living.