How to Talk to Your Family About Senior Living

Perhaps you’ve been enjoying your retirement for a while now. Or maybe you’ve just recently begun to embrace this newfound freedom.

Either way, you want all the best perks of retirement. And you’d like to fully enjoy those perks, without the headaches and burdens of home and property maintenance to take up your free time.

Lots of Baby Boomers like you have found that Life Plan Communities give them everything they want in independent senior living while taking care of everything they don’t want. But some people in your life may not clearly understand what Life Plan Communities are — and what their benefits are for independent, active adults like you.

If you’ve made your decision to move to a Life Plan Community, and you’d like to educate your friends and family on your reasons why, this blog of benefits can help you easily explain your decision to them.

  1. You plan to be more physically active. Maybe you already walk, bike, swim or pay to attend a fitness class or two a week at your local gym. But when you live in your independent living residence at a Life Plan Community, you’d have unlimited access to indoor and outdoor pools, pickleball and tennis courts, use of senior-specific equipment in the state-of-the-art fitness center, walking trails, a variety of exercise classes customized for older adults, full-time trained instructors and so much more.
  2. You want to enjoy increased social opportunities. You may currently meet up with friends one day every week or two, as everyone’s schedules allow. But you’d like the option of meeting up for lunch or dinner a few times a week. Or connecting over happy hour. Or taking in a movie together. Or relaxing with friends at sunset around a fire in the fire pit. Living in a Life Plan Community gives you access to an entire community of active, independent, highly engaged neighbors just outside the door of your private residence. That means you can enjoy any number of social possibilities like these, any time you like.
  3. You’re done with chores and home concerns. Here’s something your friends and family may not be thinking of: Even though you can do all the necessary home maintenance and housekeeping and lawn care, that doesn’t mean you want to. You’d much rather leave all that to the staff at a Life Plan Community. With your newfound extra free time, you plan to participate in the variety of on-campus classes, activities, organizations, clubs, speaker events and special performances. And with 24/7 security, you also intend to do more traveling, thanks to your new lock-and-leave lifestyle.
  4. From now on, you’ll cook only when you feel like it. Meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and cleanup is now completely optional. Cooking and baking will be more enjoyable — because at a Life Plan Community, you have choices. For example, at Generations at Shalom Park, you can make a meal in your own gourmet kitchen, or you can enjoy dining at one of four distinct culinary venues. Have a relaxing drink on the rooftop bar, or relax in the cozy pub.
  5. Independent living at a Life Plan Community is a smart financial decision. At a Life Plan Community, you’ll pay a one-time entrance fee and an ongoing monthly service fee. The entrance fee ensures you have access to the continuum of healthcare services at a discounted fee. The monthly service fee covers your independent living residence, all maintenance costs, dining plan, utilities, housekeeping, amenities, programs and much, much more. And there may be tax advantages to living at a Life Plan Community.

So now that you’ve got your list of reasons that can provide more context for your family as to why you’re moving into an independent living residence at a Life Plan Community, it’s time to have the conversation.

  1.  Share your game plan. You’ve made the decision for yourself — now your family may wonder what steps are involved before you move. You may want to tell them what you plan to do with your house (such as sell it, rent it or turn it over to another family member). You might also tell them what you plan to do with things like furniture, lawn equipment or even additional cars. Share with them what your downsizing plan is and ask if there are any items your family would like to have before you downsize.
  2. Suggest they visit your chosen Life Plan Community for themselves. You probably wanted to visit your independent living retirement community a few times before you made your final decision. Your family should have the opportunity to visit it as well
  3. Ask them if they’d like to sit down for a chef-made meal at the community. Make arrangements with the Life Plan Community’s culinary staff to arrange a family meal in the dining room. They’ll taste firsthand everything you’ve already told them about the dining experience and get a glimpse of the independent lifestyle you plan to enjoy.
  4. Remind them that now you’ll have more quality time to spend together. Your family may think they won’t see you as much because you’ll be busy with your new friends and neighbors. Yes, you’ll probably be busier, but tell your family you’d love to schedule a weekly dinner with the grandkids or monthly happy hour with your adult kids at the rooftop bar. Without the hassles of home maintenance, your free time is now truly free time you can spend with the people you enjoy most.

 

 

If you’re an older adult who wants to retire in North Carolina — or you’re already retired and looking into active retirement communities in Charlotte, N.C. — learn more about Generations at Shalom Park. If you’d like to discover the future of senior living, contact us today.

Book recommendations for ‘Generations’

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” But really you can and should have both.

In retirement, why not make new friends and stay connected with old friends through books? You have more time for both, after all. You could join a book club or even start one, inviting all your pals or simply your BFF or significant other to join you in your reading adventures.

To get you started, we turned to Sally Brewster, owner of Charlotte’s Park Road Books, for recommendations, specifically on books that span … well, generations. Here are her six picks – four new titles for adults, a read-with-kids title and a classic.

Come Together, edited by Joanne Plockova

Publisher’s note: Multiple generations of the same family living under one roof is not a new idea. But what is new is the way architects around the world are re-embracing this form of living, back by increasingly popular demand. While the 20th century experience emphasized a single-family home for the nuclear family and bachelor pads, we are now seeing more tiers of the family unit choosing to live together. Come Together explores the why, the what, the where and, perhaps most importantly, the how of the homes that succeed to be livable for all generational tiers – with designs that are not only architecturally stunning, but balancing private and communal spaces to come together

Marmalade Diaries: The True Story of an Odd Couple by Ben Aitken

Publisher’s note: While hunting for a room in London, Ben Aitken came across one for a great price in a lovely part of town. There had to be a catch. And there was. The catch was Winnie: an 85-year-old widow who doesn’t suffer fools. Full of warmth, wit and candor, The Marmalade Diaries tells the story of an unlikely friendship built during an unlikely time. One of the pair, a grieving aristocrat in her mid-eighties. The other? A millennial snowflake. What could possibly go wrong? What could possibly go right? Out of the most inauspicious of soils – and from the author of The Gran Tour – comes a book about grief, family, friendship, loneliness, life, love, lockdown and marmalade.

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Publisher’s note: Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is run out of town by a violent white mob. As Luz navigates 1930s Denver, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. Luz recollects her ancestors’ origins, how her family flourished, and how they were threatened. She bears witness to the sinister forces that have devastated her people and their homelands for generations. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion. Written in Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s singular voice, the wildly entertaining and complex lives of the Lopez family fill the pages of this multigenerational western saga. Woman of Light is a transfixing novel about survival, family secrets, and love–filled with an unforgettable cast of characters, all of whom are just as special, memorable, and complicated as our beloved heroine, Luz.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Publisher’s note: The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore apart not just her beloved country, but also her family.

And for a book to share with young grandchildren and other kids in your life…

A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary

Publisher’s note: When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways – but the same in the one way that matters most of all. One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One has many stepsiblings, and another has a new baby in the family.

As her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them – family of every shape, size and every kind of relation – the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, it is special.

A warm and whimsical look at many types of families, written by award-winning author Sara O’Leary, with quirky and sweet illustrations by Qin Leng.

And for the classic … East of Eden by John Steinbeck

 

After all, it’s important to connect or reconnect with old friends – er, books – too.

All Walks of Life: Hear from Generations Depositors

Generations at Shalom Park is a brand new vision of senior living, offering a breadth of services, a comfortable environment, and the resources seniors desire for an active lifestyle. Those who have already signed up to be a part of this vision belong to many different walks of life. There is a mix of folks from the area, relocating from outside Charlotte, some who are Jewish, and some who belong to other faiths, and they each bring with them a wide variety of interests, hobbies, and personal goals.

Hear from a few current depositors of Generations at Shalom Park and why they decided on Generations. We talked with depositors Bob and Kathy Kuykendal and Suly Chenkin to understand more about why they chose to become residents at Generations and what they’re looking forward to most when they move in. Bob is 77, Kathy is 76, and both of them are from Chapel Hill, NC. Suly is 81 years old from Charlotte, NC.

            

Learn firsthand the unique benefits of joining this community and all it has to offer.

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and what led you to Generations at Shalom Park.

Kuykendals: Kathy is from the west coast originally, but spent time working in Cincinnati. Bob’s family is originally from North Carolina. We have 2 sons and 5 grandchildren (4 girls and 1 boy) in Charlotte. For years, we’ve been coming to the beach in North Carolina and when we got to Chapel Hill, we happened to go to the JCC. We aren’t Jewish but our children belong to JCC for recreation, and we caught wind of this community. It’s close to where our sons live. Ultimately, we don’t want to be a burden to our children, but we want to be nearby.

Chenkin: I am a Holocaust survivor, born in Lithuania. I’ve moved throughout the US to Miami, Charlotte, New York, and came back to Charlotte with my husband in 1989.

Q. When did you become a depositor and what motivated you to make the decision to become a resident?

Kuykendals: We were some of the earliest people to put money down. We loved the concept and design as soon as we heard about it. We like the “aging in place concept” rather than assisted living, and Generations seems to cover almost every circumstance.

We liked designing our own unit. We combined 2 units into one. We’re thrilled with the freedom they’ve given us to do with it what we’d like.

Chenkin: I was very excited about it. Number 7 in putting money down. Mainly because of where it was going to be – in Shalom Park. The reason is that it’s very unique. The uniqueness comes from the fact that these buildings are going to be in an area that is multigenerational. It won’t be an enclave of people who are old. The fact that you can walk out of your building and go to the JCC (Jewish Community Center) and see children, teens, young people, and old people – it’s fabulous!

Q. What most attracted you to this particular community with so many in the area? How did you know this was the one?

Kuykendals: We researched ALL of the others. We have gone to a lot of the Generations events. I really like the people, it’s an eclectic group. They’re interesting. The people who work for Generations got us excited; we also liked them. And we like the location.

Chenkin: What attracted me to Generations is that it wasn’t massive! It’s a smaller situation. And I am constantly at Shalom Park. I spend a lot of time there. Also, the fact that it will be a multigenerational crowd. It met all my goals in retirement.

Q. Now that you’ve decided to become a future resident, what are you most excited about enjoying or doing once you move in?

Kuykendals: I like the concept of being in a place where there are a lot of people who are at a similar lifestage. They are available and interested in doing things together; socializing. It’s fine to live in a residential neighborhood, but we raised our children. We also like doing other things – the theater, a ballgame, traveling, discussing travel. We looked at another campus and we didn’t like where it was.

Chenkin: My life will be mostly the same. I go to JCC, I speak to children about being a Holocaust survivor. I am a member of the local temple, all I have to do is cross the street. It’s going to feel like home.

Q. What residence did you select, and why? What are you looking forward to most about moving into your new residence?

Kuykendals: We selected a residence and asked them to combine two of the smaller ones – “Sardis and Clover,” and we designed it ourselves. We’re in building 5 on the top floor.

Chenkin: It’s a one bedroom with a den. I like the openness of the floor plan and the large windows. The light streams in.

Q. What service, convenience, or amenity are you eager to enjoy once you move in?

Kuykendals: I like to cook, but I also like the ability to not have to cook when I don’t feel like it. Or meet someone for a bite or a glass of wine to socialize. Also looking forward to having the gym close by. We regularly exercise so it will give us fewer excuses not to with it being so close.

Chenkin: When I have doctor’s appointments, I can schedule ahead of time to have them drive me. It takes away the anxiety of having to travel there. I can go to dinner, I can pick it up. I’m also excited to be around people. I know many people who have signed up and I can meet new people.

Q. Imagine yourself and your life once you’ve moved into Generations. What do you think it’ll be like?

Kuykendals: As long as we’re able to travel, we plan to do a fair amount of that.

Chenkin: I don’t think it will be much different than it is now. Because, again, it will be my same daily routine. Instead of driving to temple, I’ll just walk over. Saturday evenings, I’ll invite my friends to come and have dinner at Generations, or I’ll be going out with them. The only thing that will change for me is the space.

Q. The Generations website has a page called, “the cost of waiting.” If you had a friend around your age who said, “You’re too young to move to a community! You should just wait!” what would you tell them?

Kuykendals: We’ve had that happen. They say, “Why are you doing this?” Both of our parents ended up in a CCRC in their late 70s, 80s both in NC, and we watched that, and how much they enjoyed it. It’s a gift you give to your children to go to a place where you can have your needs met and then you can enjoy your children and grandchildren. You have all the facilities available to you to take care of yourself. If you move in when you’re too old or unwell and isolated, you are unable to build connections. You want to become part of the community.

Chenkin: It’s not the age, it’s how you feel about it. Age has very little to do with it. Age only has to do with the planning for it, but not the actual move. It’s like everyone tells you, you want to plan for it before you have to. That’s what I’m trying to do. I don’t want the water heater problem. I don’t want to deal with more problems with my home. I look forward to this freedom.

Q. If you had to name just one reason why you chose Generations, what would it be?

Kuykendals: Location, location, location!

Chenkin: Because it’s in Shalom Park. It’s a very desirable part of the city. It’s in a park-like area but you drive a block or two and you’re in the midst of SouthPark – restaurants, everything is around.

 

 

If you’re ready to live in a desirable place such as Generations at Shalom Park, sign up today.

It’s Grandparents Day, and here’s how to connect with your grandchildren at every stage

This Grandparents Day, which falls on Sunday, September 11, focus on how the power of story can help us strengthen family ties and forge connections across generations – even, and maybe especially, with the digital generation. After all, every social media post is really just a tiny story.

When you spend time with your grandchildren, you are shaping their story of family. At the same time, you are honoring your own roots, recalling the joy of your children’s youth and creating a pathway where treasured memories begin.

Remember that the day itself was established with a national proclamation in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter to honor the unique role grandparents can play in nurturing young lives. It read in part: “We all know grandparents whose values transcend passing fads and pressures, and who possess the wisdom of distilled pain and joy.”

But it’s not a day “just” for grandparents; it’s a day to celebrate cross-generational bonds. Much as we imagine everyday life at Generations at Shalom Park will soon be, this special day is threaded through with connection — L’dor V’dor — from generation to generation. Here are some ideas for jumpstarting your Grandparents Day traditions, for every age and stage of your grandchildren.

For Little Ones

Create a space just for them. Whether it be the guest bedroom or simply a cozy corner, children love having a space they can call “mine.” Tell them stories of what you’ll do together when they come over. Add a few favorite touches, like stuffed animals, books and blankets, and you have the perfect setup for welcoming your youngest grandchildren into your home and making memories for a lifetime.

Take a walk. Young children love stories, and the raw material for these stories is all around. Take your grandchildren on one of the many walking paths Shalom Park has to offer. Narrate what you see: the plants, flowers and wildlife that catch your attention or mean something to you. Ask them to tell you what they see or hear. Encourage them to count how many birds you spot. Collect leaves, flower petals or pretty rocks.

Make art together. Have crayons on hand to create pictures about your time together. Children can make a leaf rubbing, use a photo that you took to draw a picture or just scribble with different colors represented by the current season. You create something too! Hang the pictures in your house so everyone can remember your time together.

School Aged Children

Teach them a process. Children love being let in on your hobbies and interests. Show them the steps involved in taking care of your pet. Have them pick out a recipe you can make together. Teach them how to knit, sew, repair a favorite possession or hit a golf ball. Share the story of your passions and delight in how your grandchildren learn to love them too.

Start a ritual. One of the best things about Shalom Park is the wide variety of cultural activities available. Start an annual tradition with your grandchildren where Mom and Dad get some free time while you take them to an art exhibit or an event at the Jewish Community Center on or around Grandparents Day.

Teens and Young Adults

Let them teach you. Have them help you master the latest Tik Tok dance, make a meme of yourself or learn to use features on your iPhone or laptop you didn’t even know existed. By tapping into your grandchildren’s affinity for technology and digital storytelling, you are sending them the message that sharing knowledge is a two-way street. Find favorite old photos and take pictures of them, or have them do it. Ask your adult grandchildren how to turn them into a digital story or share with more family members.

Record a story for posterity. If you have an interesting story to share, your grandchildren might like to interview you and record a short video or audio clip. If you’d like some professional guidance, a great tool is the free app from the nonprofit StoryCorps. The group’s mission is to preserve the stories of our time. The StoryCorps website provides more information about how to use the app to record high quality conversations.

We can’t wait to hear about the stories you co-create with your grandchildren – right now and (soon) at Generations

Building a community before the community is built

Maggie and Mick Miller know about building a sense of community before a community is physically built.

When the couple, formerly of Pineville, North Carolina, reserved a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment at the Gateway at Aldersgate – Generations’ sister community – their new home existed only on a blueprint. They liked the vision they saw, all the green space available and the people – both on the marketing team and their prospective new neighbors – they met.

“The fact that this was new construction was a big factor,” Mick said. The couple was able to customize their new apartment home to fit their needs. “All the acreage was another factor. We’re a very active couple and liked the idea of being able to walk and ride our bikes throughout the community. And, we liked the community itself and how friendly everybody was when we first came here.”

Maggie agrees. “We looked at several other places and just didn’t get the same feeling,” she said. “When we came here, it all came together.”

The couple appreciated the long horizon they were afforded because the project was under construction. “We didn’t want to move right away,” Mick said. “We had a 10-year plan that involved downsizing to a smaller house in a 55-and-older community first. We’d already done that. The two-year construction schedule gave us plenty of time to prepare mentally and get everything out of the way that we needed to get done.”

They were also able to easily get to know the people who would become their neighbors during the construction period. “We met those who were considering moving here and became friends with them,” Maggie said. Generations is currently at the same point in the process as Gateway was for the Millers. It’s the part in the timeline to pick your neighbors and bring them to your community, as well as make new friends who will be neighbors.

Mick recalled: “Aldersgate would host an event about once a month to give construction updates. Those events were always a chance to socialize with our future neighbors.” By the time Gateway was complete, there was already a sense of neighborliness among its denizens.

The Millers also got to know existing residents of Aldersgate who were living in parts of the community long since completed. The future residents of Gateway were invited to participate in all the events Aldersgate sponsored. So, not only did the Millers have friends in their building when they moved in, they also had friends all across campus. The Millers built their own community (of friends) before the community (Gateway, or in this case, Generations) was built.

Even before their new home was finished in early 2019, they recruited some of their friends to reserve a spot while construction was still ongoing.

They moved in when they were 70 and are glad they did. Mick said, “Some people wait until it’s too late to move – until one spouse or the other needs assistance in some way. We didn’t want to wait.”

They didn’t tell anyone – including their adult daughters – of their plan to move. They waited until their building was under construction and then brought their daughters to see it so they could get a real sense for what their new home would be like. Both readily approved. One daughter likened the campus to “college for seniors.”

The Millers had wanted to stay active once they moved – and their fitness regime puts plenty of people decades younger to shame. They attend fitness class three times a week and balance class twice a week. They swim laps three times a week – always at 6 a.m. when they have the pool to themselves. The 230-acre campus is their oyster. They walk and bike throughout the community regularly.

Their fitness level is apparent to everyone they meet.

“People tell us we look too young to be here,” Mick said. “And we joke that we looked older before we moved to Aldersgate.”

The couple plans to enjoy their Aldersgate lifestyle for a long time to come. “The more active and social you are, the longer you’re likely to live,” said Maggie.

They had already discovered how easy it is to get involved in the community. But since moving, the Millers have become leaders among Aldersgate residents. Along with a neighbor down the hall, Maggie started a monthly trivia night. It’s become so popular that it’s open to the whole community. It’s held at the onsite pub, where there’s a seating capacity of 40 people. Sometimes, there are 15 or more people on the wait list.

Becoming part of their community has been easy for the Millers. It started before construction even began. And the Millers couldn’t be happier with their neighborhood. Said Maggie: “Moving here was the best decision we ever made.”

Total Health: Suzanne Pugh of Aldersgate Life Plan Services On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing

How Seniors Can Achieve Their Health Goals

As you get older, your wellness ambitions may change, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from continuing to set wellness goals. Whether it’s being able to keep up with your grandchildren, running a 5k, building stamina to walk around the park with your friends, or changing your diet to give you more energy, wellness goals help you to become your best self.

You can incorporate simple daily habits into your life to help you pursue these goals and maintain your health. And luckily, these goals don’t need to be difficult and over-ambitious – instead, focus on setting goals that are attainable and appropriately challenging for you.

The importance of health goals for seniors

It’s no question that health and wellness should be a priority for seniors. But how do you do that exactly? Setting wellness goals is an excellent motivator and way to measure your progress on improving your mental and physical well-being. Setting goals gives you direction and allows you to focus on important things in life. In addition, working towards and accomplishing these goals provide a sense of purpose and meaning in your life, which is important as you age. Here are some of our favorite wellness goals you can incorporate into your daily routine.

Maintain a healthy diet

Following a healthy diet is a great wellness choice you can make, no matter your age. According to the CDC A healthy diet boosts immunity, strengthens bones, supports the digestive system, and lowers your risk of heart disease and type two diabetes. These are all important health concerns to avoid, especially as you age. Some foods you should try to incorporate into your diet like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and various proteins. Maintaining a healthy diet is just one of the many benefits of living at a life plan community, where nutritious and balanced meals are readily accessible. where nutritious and balanced meals are readily accessible.

Exercise daily

While a balanced diet is a primary key to wellness for seniors, pairing it with exercise will add to those benefits. Exercise can help to delay many of the major health problems that come with age. By building stamina and strengthening your muscles, you’ll improve your ability to do everyday tasks without assistance or worry.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest that adults over 65 should participate in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity workouts like a brisk walk, laps in the pool, or a game of basketball. In addition, you should do muscle strengthening and balance exercises at least two days a week. It’s easy to stay active in life plan communities where tailored wellness programs for seniors ensure a safe, fun, and active lifestyle.

Focus on your mental health

Approximately, 15% of adults over 60 suffer from a mental health condition. And though it’s a sometimes-overlooked aspect of your overall well-being, maintaining good mental health is key to being healthy in other areas of your life. In fact, mental health has been shown to have a significant impact on physical health, increasing your risk for many long-lasting conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also worsen any preexisting physical conditions you have, says the CDC. But how do you take care of your mental health as a senior?

Some of our favorite mental wellness activities for seniors are:

– Pick up a new hobby

– Spend time with friends and family

– Enjoy the great outdoors

– Practice mindfulness

Incorporating daily exercises in your life that give your mental health a boost can have lifelong benefits. Consider adding a few of the activities we listed above into your daily routine or explore other relaxing activities.

Work on building healthy sleep habits

Getting a good night’s rest allows your body and mind to recover and leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. The National Institute on Aging suggests that seniors should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. To take it one step further, Mayo Clinic reports that poor sleep habits can increase your risk for mental and physical health problems. These health issues include high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and depression.

Some of the best ways to better your sleeping habits are:

– Stick to a sleep schedule: allow your body to get into a rhythm of when it’s time to sleep and wake

– Avoid long daytime naps: doing so will help you fall asleep more easily at night, as your body responds to its natural exhaustion.

– Limit your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine: these products all have chemicals in them that will keep you awake

– Create a peaceful sleeping environment: having a quiet, non-lit room or space to fall asleep helps to foster easy and deep sleep habits.

Take these steps to improve your sleeping habits and avoid the unnecessary risks of poor sleep. If you suffer from poor sleep and these tips don’t help, visit your doctor and discuss your concerns.

Good health and wellness for seniors can be easy by making just a few changes in your everyday life. You don’t need high-intensity workouts and low-calorie meals, but instead, focus on a balance of simple exercise and a healthy diet. Implementing these tips can help ensure a fulfilling and fun-filled retirement.

If you’re interested in wellness programs for seniors, see what Generations at Shalom Park has to offer. Explore our
website or call us at 704-610-6716 and learn how we can guide you through a care-free retirement experience.

Why Generations?

Deciding if, and when, to move to a retirement community is momentous. So is deciding which one best suits your needs.

You have to consider location, amenities including dining, your neighbors, how easily you could move to a higher level of care if needed.

Generations at Shalom Park, a new Aldersgate senior living facility being developed in the SouthPark area, checks all the boxes.

Aldersgate already operates a long-established Life Plan community in east Charlotte. Generations at Shalom Park will be its second community when it opens in late 2024 or early 2025.

Although construction on the new facility hasn’t begun, 49 – as of this writing – of 125 apartments have already been reserved. Sixteen distinctive floor plans – all featuring lots of natural light, thanks to the chevron design of the building – range in size from 1,000 to over 2,000 square feet. The 11-acre campus is set to open by early 2025 and will be part of Shalom Park’s 54-acre campus.

Most apartments are designed for independent living, but – at our sister community, Aldersgate –  Generations will offer skilled nursing and memory care services to residents who require that level of care.

Diversity is a cornerstone of Generations and Aldersgate. In fact, Aldersgate was the first Life Plan Community in the country with its own chief diversity, inclusion and equity officer to help navigate and embrace the many dimensions of diversity, including age, race, religion, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, disability, culture, socioeconomic status and more.

The community is open to everyone 62 and up, regardless of faith or denomination. It has appeal for members of the Jewish faith, since it’s being built at Shalom Park’s leafy campus on Providence Road. Shalom Park, the hub of Jewish life in Charlotte, features schools, synagogues, a community center, fitness and aquatic facilities and a library. It’s a multigenerational wonderland.

At the same time, Aldersgate has a long history with the Methodist faith. It was founded 75 years ago by the Methodist church and was originally known as The Methodist Home.

Amenities at Generations will include a robust schedule of community activities including lifelong learning programs in the arts and current events, a movie theater, walking trails, transportation services and a fitness center, as well as Shalom Park’s aquatics center and the Levine Jewish Community Center. Residents will also find a concierge service, health clinic and wellness advisors.

There will even be a salon and spa.

Several dining options – a coffee shop/casual bistro, rooftop dining and private dining room – will be available. A convenience market is also planned.

If you need a little assistance at Generations, we are ready. In-home assisted living care at Generations will be provided by the experienced “home team” of Aldersgate At Home. Aldersgate provides highly trained certified nursing assistants (CNAs) under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) who also makes scheduled visits.

In addition, Aldersgate – our sister community – offers assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation.

Prices start at $361,000.

When you’re ready to consider retirement community living, let the staff at Generations show you how much we have to offer.

Think Generations might be right for you? Call 704.480.3844 to learn more. Or visit our website.

What Does Independent Living at a Life Plan Community Really Look Like?

Where you live is just as important as how you live — and that certainly applies to retirement, too. When you were younger, you probably chose where you’d live based on your job, schools for your kids and proximity to family.

Now that you’re retired, you plan to live where you can enjoy your time, health and independent, active lifestyle.

And you have lots of options on where you could live: age in place in your long-time family home; move in with a family member, such as an adult child; or become a resident at a 55-plus community.

While these options have their own pros and cons, they share one thing in common: They all lack the shared community feel, security and peace of mind you’ll find at a Life Plan Community (also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC).

To help you understand all your options, and which might be the right fit for your retirement lifestyle, we’ll look at the pros and cons of these different types of independent living.

Aging in place

When you choose to age in place, you’re opting to stay in your current home.

PROS: You’re living in a neighborhood or area that’s familiar to you. Remaining in your home can offer you consistency because you don’t need to adjust to a new environment. You may also feel that you have more control over your decisions and your quality of life, and have more independence in your days.

CONS: Even if your home is paid off, you still have quite a few bills to pay. That’s because you’re responsible for everything — all maintenance, cooking, housekeeping, lawn and landscaping, utilities, taxes, transportation, activity costs. You may find yourself gradually becoming more isolated because it gradually gets harder to maintain a healthy social life. And if you need care, you have to find reliable and trustworthy in-home care and pay for it.

Moving in with a family member

You may choose to move in with a relative, typically an adult child and their family.

PROS: When you all live under the same roof, you’ll have a lot more family time together. You get to spend more time with your grandchildren and with your adult child. It may also be less expensive for you when you’re splitting bills for the mortgage, utilities and groceries. And while you’re not in your long-time home, you’re still somewhere familiar, around people you know and love.

CONS: The family time may be way too much family togetherness. You may find your own freedom is becoming curbed because your adult children expect you to be the live-in babysitter. When you’re with your family nearly 24/7, you may not have much free time to spend time with your own friends, pursuing the interests and hobbies you enjoy. Your family members may not know how to care for your healthcare needs as you age, and you may eventually feel you’re placing a burden on your loved ones.

Becoming a resident at a 55-plus community

A 55-plus community is designed for adults who want to give up a large home they no longer need for a more convenient residential setting with on-site services and amenities to enjoy. Also called an age-restricted community or active adult community, these settings provide some type of housing (condos, apartments, single-family homes, etc.); homes may be rented or purchased. Communities may also provide some amenities such as dining or maintenance or social activities.

PROS: Since it’s an age-restricted community, your neighbors will all be at least 55 years old or older, so you may find it easy to build quick friendships. You may stay more active because you’ll find neighbors with shared interests and hobbies. You may have coordinated social activities and a full monthly calendar of planned events to enjoy as part of the community’s perks.

CONS: an age-restricted community typically is structured under a Homeowners Association (HOA). HOAs can be restrictive to your lifestyle and charge costly dues on top of a mortgage. Long-term on-site health care is usually minimal, if offered at all. If health issues arise, you may need to move again — and it may be difficult to sell, due to the age restrictions on the property.

Choosing a Life Plan Community

A Life Plan Community is a more updated term for a Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC, yet they mean the same thing. In addition to your residence, you have services and amenities for a more independent life today, plus a plan for care tomorrow, all at one community.

PROS: You move into independent living and enjoy a lifestyle free of home maintenance responsibilities, a number of resident-focused programs and a host of new neighbors just outside your door to enjoy each purpose-filled day with. You also have:

● Time-freeing services like maintenance-free living inside and outside your residence, housekeeping, all upkeep of the community’s grounds, laundry, scheduled transportation and more.

● Remarkable amenities to explore, which vary from community to community, but often include multiple culinary options, fitness centers, indoor or outdoor pools and numerous common spaces.

● Wellness opportunities thanks to a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and instructor-led classes.

● A lock-and-leave lifestyle due to our safe, secure campus and 24/7 security.

You also have something that simply can’t be understated: peace of mind for yourself and your family. You have the benefit of priority access to long-term care if you or your spouse ever needs it, at a discounted rate.

CONS: Cost versus value. It’s not so much a con as it is something you’ll want to learn about and understand before becoming a resident. Financially, Life Plan Communities are structured differently from other senior living communities, in that they operate under an entrance fee and monthly fees thereafter. But this includes everything from maintenance services and convenient on-site amenities to being able to stay where you are if you need additional care added to your routine.

Here’s a helpful chart to break down comparisons between your home, a 55-plus community and a Life Plan Community.

If you’ve got thoughts about independent living at a Life Plan Community, we invite you to talk to a life plan counselor at Generations at Shalom Park. Generations will be a different kind of retirement living in Charlotte.

A boutique community of 125 independent living residences for people 62 and older in the South Park neighborhood, our culturally Jewish community will inspire, comfort and rejuvenate while embracing and honoring all faiths, backgrounds and even ages.

Learning more is easy — simply contact us or call us at 704-610-6716.

Make New Friends. Keep the Old.

You never outgrow the need for friends.

Many new residents of retirement communities express delight at the ready-made friends they find there. It’s easy – almost automatic – to make pals in your building, in exercise classes, at learning events and in the cafe and dining room.

Once getting settled into a new routine and a new way of life, people find their friendship circle has readily expanded. All you have to do is leave your apartment, and you’re suddenly running into people at the mailbox, on the walking trails, at the gym. And before you know it, they’re inviting you over for happy hour and inviting you to join them for dinner. New friends just seem to multiply in retirement communities.

That’s no reason to lose touch with old friends and neighbors. Staying connected just requires a little effort. Here are a few ways for seniors (and really, anyone) to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones. After all, Sunday, Aug. 7 is National Friendship Day.

  • Schedule coffees, lunches, happy hours. Be proactive in keeping up with friends who live “off campus.”
  • Use your phone. If you no longer live close enough for in-person visits, your phone can be a lifeline. Call, text or email. It doesn’t take much time to say or type: “Thinking of you.”
  • Volunteer in the community. It’s a great way to meet people and do good at the same time. Retirement communities such as Generations often post volunteer opportunities for residents to sign up for.
  • Take up a new hobby or sport. Retirement community residents often find an array of classes and opportunities available just outside their door. Pilates, meditation, writing, current events lectures – take your pick. Look for ways to expand your mind and move your body. You’ll often find new friends in the process.
  • Sign up for events at your retirement community. There are generally loads of events taking place on campus, but there are occasional cultural events (with group discounts!) that happen off campus. If enough people sign up, a bus can even take you to and pick you up from the symphony, opera or theater.
  • Organize a book club. There’s lots more time for reading in retirement. And having book discussions is another way to form a community within a community.
  • Get (more) involved in a faith community. Generations at Shalom Park offers opportunities to explore the Jewish faith right here on campus.Generations will also have a non-denominational-style room designed for personal worship.

Generations has a long list of amenities that make it desirable. But the friends that await are an intangible not listed among community features. Yet, they are one of the main reasons to consider our community. The people who have reserved their spots are a friendly lot – eager to be the first to call Generations “home.” We hope you’ll consider joining their ranks.