What Is Assisted Living?
At Southern Heritage Assisted Living, we provide a unique blend of personalized services, health care, and living accommodations to promote maximum independence. Our residents enjoy well-appointed and secure housing, balanced meals, social activities, assistance with activities of daily living, and access to necessary health care.
At Southern Heritage, assisted living is provided by a caring and compassionate staff that knows each resident personally. We involve the residents and their families in a customized living plan that allows us to create a positive experience for you and/or your loved one.
Where Do I Start?
If you are just starting out on your journey to senior living, you probably have a long list of questions. Are there different types of senior living care? How much does it cost each month? What should you do if you know your loved one needs to make the move? How do you know what to look for when touring different communities?
The good news is that you’ve come to the right place. In this section you’ll find all of the basics, including answers to each of the questions above. You’ll also find some helpful tips and guidelines so that you’re armed with all of the info you need to make the best decision for you or your loved one.
What Is The Right Option For Me?
If you’re exploring your senior living options, you might have more questions than answers. Senior living is a topic that can be extensive, with a large range of options from independent and assisted living to dementia care and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. With so many terms and definitions, where do you begin?
If you feel a little bit overwhelmed, you aren’t the only one. But we have good news: You don’t have to continue feeling that way. The right option for you is out there, and we can help you find it. We’ve put together several resources that can help you navigate this journey from start to finish, with the goal of helping you decrease stress and to approach your senior living decision with confidence.
What Level of Care Do I Need?
You deserve to live in a place that sees you as an individual with your own unique circumstances, requirements, preferences and desires. That’s why we take a personalized approach to senior living, providing a variety of great options so you can find the community that’s right for you.
But before you get too far along your journey to senior living, it’s important to understand what care levels are available and what each of them includes. So if you’re unfamiliar with the differences between each care level, from assisted living to memory care or skilled nursing, or even options without care such as independent living, this is a great place to start.
When Is the Right Time for Senior Living?
There are two reactions that people often have when they think about moving to a senior living community. Some are eager to pack their bags and leave their mundane chores and responsibilities behind. Others feel intimidated or overwhelmed at the idea of moving to a new home.
No matter which reaction you have, the decision to transition to a senior living community is a big one—and it’s okay if you aren’t totally on board yet. The good news is that you’ve come to the right place. Because we have decades of experience serving seniors all around the country, we have developed a few ways to help you decide if the time is right to consider your options for senior living.
How Expensive Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living at Southern Heritage is surprisingly affordable. One of our primary goals is to be the best healthcare value in Chattanooga. We accomplish this by maintaining a single flat rate for all the services we provide. The industry standard is to have levels of care with graduating higher rates for each level of care required or services provided. Assessments for levels of care are made routinely and rates increase accordingly. At Southern Heritage, a single flat rate covers all routine services and amenities. Our fee will not increase in the future because you need additional assistance. Residents and families indicate that our adherence to this single consistent fee is extremely unique and an important factor in selecting Southern Heritage. When planning for assisted living, many find that the combination of two or more resources (social security, a pension, V.A. benefits, insurance, savings, or sale of even a modest home) can cover the cost of assisted living for many years.
How To Tackle The Assisted Living Conversation
One of the first things worth considering before actually having the conversation about senior living with a loved one is that it’s hard to predict how they will react to this kind of sensitive subject. If you’re a senior and want to talk to your children about your decision, they may disagree that the time is right for you to move. Or if you’re suggesting to a parent that it might be time to make a move, it’s always possible that you might catch them off guard.
But no matter how the conversation goes, it’s helpful to remember that both you and your family member are on a journey. And even if parts of the journey get difficult, the most important part is that you travel it together, striving for patience and grace, and determined to make it through together.
And more good news: A little planning goes a long way, and with the right preparation, and a few tools for how to have the actual conversation, you might just make it through the discussion a little bit easier.
Making the Move
If you’re in a season of life where the topic of senior living comes up a lot, you probably know just how emotional this subject can be. Aging parents often feel a sense of denial or fear of being a burden to their children, and their children can feel a sense of guilt or loss when they suggest it may be time for mom and dad to consider long-term care options.
The good news is that these feelings are completely normal, and you don’t have to handle them on your own. We have all kinds of resources that can help you navigate the journey, covering everything from what questions to ask when you tour a community to how to make your new senior living apartment feel just like home sweet home.
Making the Most of Your Community Tour
Touring a community is a big step in the senior living journey. And if you are at this point, then take time to congratulate yourself on this progress.
Chances are that you’ve never toured a community before, but you know the value of finding the right community for you or a family member. The more prepared you are for the process, the better you’ll be at selecting that perfect community.
1. You get a feel for the environment.
We all want to live in a place that feels like home, even if that means something different to each of us. That’s why most people would never purchase a house without going to look at it first. When you visit a community in person, you can walk through the hallways, see the apartments and get a feel for the environment. Is this somewhere you can see yourself living?
2. You can meet the people who work there.
Because you’ll see them every single day, the people who work in a senior living community are an important part of the decision-making process. Meeting them face-to-face gives you the chance to see what it might be like to interact with these new friendly faces day in and day out.
3. You can taste the food.
Food plays an important role in our daily life, and that doesn’t change just because you move into a senior living community. When you go on a community tour, you can look at the menu options, sneak a peek at the dining room and maybe even have a meal. That’s way better than settling for pictures in the brochure.
4. You can meet other residents.
Everyone has a different reason for choosing to move into a community. Some seniors make the transition to widen their social circle. Visiting a community in person will allow you to meet the people who might be your future neighbors. Do they seem like people you would get along with? Do you have things in common? Are they friendly? You’re more likely to be able to answer those questions if you go in person.
5. You can ask more questions.
Even if you’ve done your research and made a list of questions to ask when you tour a senior living community, you may find yourself with new questions as you walk through the halls and common rooms. Touring in person lets you ask questions naturally as they arise, hopefully giving you a more comfortable feeling that you would get online or over the phone.
How to Get Your Move Started
You’ve done your research, toured several communities and decided where you want to enjoy the next season of life. If that’s you, give yourself a pat on the back! Now it’s time to get ready to move.
There’s more to moving into a new home than simply packing up your things and taking them from one place to another. Moving is usually an emotional process. If you recognize ahead of time that the transition will probably bring up some combination of hopeful and sad emotions, you can be better prepared to embrace this new chapter of life.
Settling into Your New Community
Personalize Your Space
Whether you brought your own furniture or your apartment came furnished, consider rearranging a few things to make the layout feel more like home. You may be surprised to discover how big of a difference this can make.
Hanging up curtains, framed artwork or family photographs can immediately transform a space, making it feel more personal, welcoming and warm. This is especially true if you are incorporating pieces you already own rather than new purchases.
Some residents like to create welcome signs, hang up wreaths or decorate their front door entry with personal touches. This gives you the chance to add your own personal touch and let people know a little more about who you are and what you like.
Invite People Over
Extend an invitation to old friends and family to check out your newly decorated apartment. Loved ones will enjoy getting to see your apartment, and you can take them on a tour of the community. Consider coordinating their schedule during a meal time, so your family can enjoy a delicious meal while getting to spend quality time with you.
After you settle in, invite over some of your neighbors. Maybe it’s to share some coffee or tea, watch a movie, or to enjoy an afternoon snack. Spending time with people is a sure-fire way to feel more at home. It’ll also be an excellent way to meet other people at the community.
Join in on the Fun
You’ll be able to take advantage of all the different activities, celebrations, clubs, and excursions happening at the community. It may be tempting at first to want to stay in your apartment, but the more you engage with life at the community, the faster you’ll feel connected. Participating in activities is a wonderful way to meet new friends, explore hobbies, and just have some fun.
You can pick and choose what events you participate in. So if you don’t feel like joining in on something, no problem. We also encourage resident participation in creating clubs or activities, so if there’s something you’d like to do, just let us know!
What to Expect on Moving Day
Moving day can be challenging, but guess what? There are several ways to make moving day more exciting than stressful. It all comes down to planning. The more you can do in advance, the easier the actual day will be.
One big way to ease stress is to learn about what you might expect to happen on moving day. Every senior living community is different, so they may have their own process and procedures. Most places will give you a detailed run-down of what moving day will be like, but you can always call to ask specific questions or get more clarification if you need it.
Are Residents Free To Come And Go As They Please?
Your freedom to come and go is similar to being at home or in a private apartment. Southern Heritage provides services for a wide range of needs. We have residents who continue to drive and keep their personal vehicles available for daily errands. Others find it easier to only go out with friends or family. Either way, each person is free to come and go as they please.
Can We Bring Our Own Furniture And Furnishings?
Most definitely. In fact, we prefer that you bring your own furniture for several reasons. We have found that the transition from home to assisted living occurs most smoothly when residents bring their own furniture. Being able to sleep in your own bed, use your own dresser and watch TV in your favorite recliner makes new surroundings feel more familiar and comfortable. This helps greatly to ease the transition process. We go a step further and encourage residents to hang their own photographs and art work on the wall, creating the perfect home-like environment. All rooms are furnished with decorative draperies and blinds for privacy.