Katie Beattie, Senior Care Counselor at Arbor Terrace Citrus Park, joins us to chat about how independent living allows you to stay connected to your community and engage with others, while offering access to additional care, should you need it in the future.

Video Transcript

- Hello everyone, and welcome in to Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa, I am so glad you could join us today, finding us via video or for those of you who have found us via podcast, we thank you so much for finding us on our new venue that we have just released over the past couple of months, thank you. Today, we are diving into an interesting topic. Many people wanna know, should I move into independent living? Is this something that is right for me as they venture into retirement? And somebody that can help me talk all about this is Katie Beattie, she is the senior care counselor at Arbor Terrace Citrus Park, down in Florida, a gorgeous community. Katie, how are you today?

- I am great here in sunny Florida, it's beautiful today.

- Of course it is, it's always sunny in Florida it seems like yes. And your community is gorgeous, I have been there myself and have been able to see it as it was being constructed and as it's now a completed home for many people. First, before we start diving into the topic, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

- Sure, absolutely. I have a very different background, but somehow it marries perfectly into what I do today. So I started out, in the golf industry, so I went from college, I'm a Gator, go Gators. And I kinda continued in the golf industry for about 16 years. So really, lifestyles sales, I always said, no one really needs a country club, but it betters your life. It gives you purpose. If you're new to community, you make friends. I got out of the golf industry randomly and worked for a spinal surgeon. So I educated patients on different spinal surgeries. Again, people who were isolated, kinda trapped in their own bodies in a sense because they just couldn't do anything. And that also, got their life back. So I think the two kinda marry each other and, I feel like daily, I am helping people enrich their lives. Cause really, I'm gonna be honest no one needs an independent living or they don't think that they need one, but it truly can, make and change a senior, just like a surgery, just like having that purposeful life at like a country club or something to do and meet friends.

- I agree with that completely, we're gonna talk about that, that is our next question. But before we get to that, in terms of you supporting things, you are supporting breast cancer awareness month, aren't you?

- I am, so you can kinda see my pink hair here. All the ladies love it there, they always wanna touch it. I'm like it is actually, it's hair, it's an extension. But although, we have quite a few residents here who have gone through breast cancer so they all think that it's, kinda fun that I have pink hair and I think they always see me not serious, but in this, touring people, so it kinda brings some fun to it too.

- Yeah, and I love it, I love it so much. Thank you for your support and I'm sure people who are watching, who have been through that, unfortunately, breast cancer, it's a long journey for many people, I'm sure that they appreciate your support as well, so thank you. Now, as we talk about independent living, people have this idea of what a senior living community is like in that when it comes to senior living, I only move there when I needed additional care, but that is not always the case. So what are the top reasons people choose to move into an independent living community and who should consider a move to independent living.

- Absolutely, so really when we're seeing people starting to look at independent living, we have quite a few families who are moving closer to be near their loved ones. And that really works out for them because moving to a new area, you may not have friends, moving to, downsizing to a smaller community. Yes, there are multiple 55 up communities here in Florida I mean, I think that probably every neighborhood has one. But a lot of those are snowbirds or, residents who are still working. So they may not be home doing things that you'd wanna do, so you may not see your neighbors often. And again, it might just be very established already where, making new friends is, difficult. So a lot of those new families moving into from out of state or different parts of Florida really find independent living, a great resource for them to engage with other people, to meet people instantly. I always like to say, it's kinda like the first year of college, you're all in the same boat as freshmen. And then we also have families who, where maybe one spouse is a caregiver and the other one needs a little bit more assistance. So it really gives that one who might be just a little bit more the caregiver, that extra maintenance-free lifestyle to assist so that they both can enjoy the quality of their life. They both can, not have to worry that one is doing more than the other with that kind of, meals and housekeeping and just that little extra maintenance that, chores we do daily kinda taken away. That also being said, residents who are isolated, they might've lived in their homes for, I dunno, 40 something years and neighborhoods are just getting younger. So yes, they might know their residents or their residential area and their neighbors, but they're not really doing the things that they love. Or hanging out with neighbors someone might just, wave to them. I don't think we realize like how lonely some people are in their homes. Cause, we see them every day, but we don't realize that they're just home alone.

- Yeah, and I'm sure there's a lot of people that are listening or watching that can either hear themselves in that group of individuals or can hear maybe their mom or dad there as well and are thinking, huh, well, I wasn't sure that this existed, but it does. And so we're gonna dive a little bit deeper into this. Many Arbor communities are unique in the fact that they allow you to choose independent living, then you can move to assisted living. And then if you need a little bit more help or, you start to decline from a memory, a cognitive standpoint, you can get that kinda care as well. So basically it's one stop shopping, if you will. Having this idea of aging in place, how has this changed the perspective of retirement and senior living?

- I think it's changed it so, a lot of people look especially local, they wanna stay where they're familiar. So that builds that campus approach gives them the option that, I'm around my same doctors. I go to the same grocery store I've been going for years. I mean, we all know that all grocery stores are similar but, you go into one and you're like, this is not like my grocery store it will take you longer. So just being in that kinda neighborhood aspect and just what's familiar really makes it, great for seniors. Whether they're moving and they're starting a new neighborhood, they know that they're gonna be here, for quite some time they can age in place and again, not have to worry about changing doctors, dentist, their church where their Publix is or the grocery store. So it really helps in that sense. I think it also gives them that sense of one large home, because especially when they're independent, and I think no one ever really wants to, separate from their spouse, but sometimes that does come up and it's, I think an easier transition knowing that you're kinda in one big home, I think it's like a one big, like large mansion. Or they're on the same, you have your house, they have their house. And knowing that they're there and getting the care that they need, but you can see them at any time of day really helps families as well, knowing, that they're both taken care of as a spouse or that they can age in place.

- Yeah, I spoke to a woman who had that exact situation living in a community, down in Texas and, her husband needs a lot of help from a memory care standpoint, so he's in the memory care part of the community. She has her own independent living apartment and she can go see her husband anytime, but then enjoy her life and not feel like it's all about 24/7 care for her husband. And then she said, now I can just be the wife I can just be his wife, his loving wife. And I just, she was so happy. So it's, great to hear those reviews, and speaking of reviews, I know people who live at your community independent living, they love it. So can you tell us a little bit about what people are saying and what a normal typical day is like for somebody who lives at your independent living community?

- Sure, so we'll kinda touch on just the normal everyday and then I'll kinda go into a little bit, of what people are saying by that. So we definitely start out every morning with breakfast and then fitness and wellness have been a huge part of this community. It is amazing to see residents who may never have been into any sort of fitness or wellness get into it, or might have been the, 50 something year old that walked three miles, four miles a day with their besties every morning and then just didn't anymore and now are getting back into that. So that's always amazing to see. One of my favorite parts is, touring our aerobic studio, our gym, and adult children saying, "mom and dad will never do that." And taking a picture and being like, "look what mom and dad did today." So that's always fun to see. I think that that our residents really appreciate our community. It being newly built, everything is built for, a purposeful space so like we have that gym, we have that aerobic studio, so it wasn't an afterthought it was already built into the community that they're moving into. So after fitness and wellness, you can get your mind going. So we do some sort of brain engagement, some sort of game. There could be something interactive later on like jewelry making or arts. We do a lot of seminars and lectures. And that's really towards the end of the day, we always have a social hour. It truly is happy hour, but not everybody drinks, but it's a great time to come back to the community, meet with friends right before dinner. And then there's dinner and I feel like dinner is always a kind of, a five course meal. So it does, it takes a while for dinner, but they have a great social hour. And then we have some games or seminars after dinner and then everyone kinda winds down. We have these great living rooms that I see a lot of people watching like "Jeopardy" or "Wheel of Fortune" together. It's always fun, like right now where there's someone that is winning for a long time so they're all talking about it. So it's kinda a day in the life of our resident. There is always something on the hour to do. So, it's just like a cruise ship you could do as much as you like, or you could just sit back and relax.

- And when it comes to reviews, what do the residents think about this lifestyle?

- I mean, I have so many residents come up to me and tell me, my grandmother lived in independent living and she also told me this many years ago that they just wished they would've done it sooner. That the friends that they've met, the things that they've gotten back into, it's really hard, especially for a couple or a single person to cook for themselves. So the food in general, not having to do, a TV dinner, or lean cuisine that has a lot of sodium, their doctors are telling them, your sodium levels are down. Swelling's down, having, non sweet items, they're having dessert. There's just so many more options. They're eating more vegetables and so every morning we have berries. They're like, I love berries, but I never buy them because they go bad. I can have berries every day. So just having those things that I think we're so used to, but don't even realize how hard it is for one person living by themselves to enjoy.

- Absolutely, yeah, that's great. So then people hear all this and they say, wow, well, this sounds fantastic but, then the question next is of course, how much does it cost? So if someone is interested in moving into independent living, how does the cost differ from say, living in their own home?

- I think, a lot of people they've gotten to the point of living in their home for a long time it might be paid off. Or they might have downsized, and paying for an apartment. Everything in our independent living is just like you said, a one-stop shop, everything's included pretty much. So when you think of, how much money you spend on food or going out to dinner, everyone here in Florida I don't know how many people lie to or have a pool. Maintenance on your pool that you never go into, yard, so there's always those, again, people living in their homes for 30 plus years, the AC, the roof going, there's always those extra costs that I don't think we realize are there. And then some 55 and up communities too have those higher HOAs or CDs because they have some resort like amenities. So I think once you start filling out and, we always give that fun we have a cost comparison sheet that the Arbor company gives us. And once they kinda see that and write it all down, it's fairly comparable to how you live now.

- Yeah, you take the overall cost of what that house is, what that maintenance is, that insurance costs and the electricity, and then, the TV, you take it all and you don't even realize that you pay for all these things until you really sit down and put it on paper and add it all up. And as you said, it's very comparable. So excellent job with that. Now, finally, if somebody is interested in making this leap and they wanna find out more about independent living, what is the first they should take?

- I think they should go and visit, a lot of my tours are, you're the first place I've visited. I always say it's because we start with an a, and so does everyone else and it's the first person in the phone book. But a lot of people don't even know what's available to them or what's out there, or what's even included in an independent living. I always get to when people walk in, they're just amazed how beautiful the community is and how it looks like, a resort living versus something institutional. And I was like, that's just something you see on TV. It is not portrayed like that even our assisted living and our memory care, all look like a very nice hotel, very comfortable, it's not institutional or facility. So when people say facility, I always like, the SR community because it's not, there's no, standard white, sterile walls. It truly is beautiful and very similar to what you would live in now with all those amenities.

- Sure, and you are down as we mentioned in sunny Florida, but these types of communities are everywhere, yes?

- Absolutely.

- They're all over the country, so as Katie said very well start with the A's.

- There's a lot of A's out there. They're in every state and I've seen, through social media I've seen different ones and I think you will always get like the community envy. They're gorgeous, I mean, I think the more that are built, the more purposeful spaces they have, they're really, especially in your area, what you probably would like they would have.

- Yeah, excellent. Well, I think you've done a really nice job in helping to break down sort of a day in the life of an independent living community. Katie Beattie, thank you so much for your time today.

- Thank you, Melissa. I appreciate it.

- Thank you, now, if you have enjoyed watching or listening to this interview with Katie, we'll ask you to head on over to www.seniorlivinglive.com. You can find audio podcasts or videos just like this in our video vault all about senior living 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As always we appreciate you watching Senior Living Live have a great day everybody.

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