Transitions are hard. These services and communities make them easier.
Every stage of life presents a unique set of challenges. Whether you’re ready to move to a retirement community, or noticing changes in your eyesight, use this guide to find the help you need.
BRUCE AND JEANNE NEMOVITZ
This couple have been serving the real estate needs of senior citizens for some 30 years, and have developed a practice that specializes in the sometimes traumatic move from longtime homes to retirement communities.
The couple, both senior real estate specialists at Realty Executives Integrity, work with a number of other businesses to handle all the tasks – and feelings – that go with such a move.
“We have developed partners that assist us,” says Bruce Nemovitz, “so that we can be sort of a one-stop shop, and have all the services the family would need to not only emotionally plan for the transition, but also to help prepare the home for sale and downsize from years of belongings, or, as we call them, treasures.”
They coordinate with senior communities into which their clients are moving, and hire contractors who can do any repairs on a house before a sale, or help sort through belongings and stage estate sales with unneeded items.
“The words that we hear almost universally are ‘overwhelmed,’ and ‘don’t know where to start,’” says Nemovitz, who’s written two books on the process – one (Moving in the Right Direction) for seniors and the second (Guiding Our Parents in the Right Direction) aimed at their adult children.
“It’s never too early to start preparing for a future move,” says Nemovitz.
For more information, go to senior realtor.com.
Another firm that deals with this critical transition is Universal Services moving company. Started 22 years ago by Richard J. Zanon and his wife, Migdalia, Universal Services addresses needs of seniors in all phases of moving. Its mission is to provide the elderly affordable, direct, uncomplicated and comprehensive moving services. In addition, its store in Sussex, Consign w/ US, provides a place for seniors to consign household items that don’t fit in their new home. This sometimes can pay for the entire move.
Today Migdalia Zanon (who has a master’s in health administration) manages the firm’s day-to-day operations. Zanon says that Universal Services understands that rightsizing and moving are a huge undertaking for seniors, and that a systematic plan for downsizing and moving is crucial. The firm offers these services:
Organizing and de-cluttering: A move manager does an in-home survey to determine if there’s enough inventory for an estate sale – or if not, which items are consignable and can go to the store.
Packing: The firm can do partial packing (only fragile china and special items) or full packing.
Moving services: The firm can tell the customers how many movers they’ll need and how many hours the move will take.
Unpacking services: Universal Services puts all the household items in place and gets rid of paper and boxes.
Clean-out service: The firm will get the old home ready for sale. It will help decide which furniture is going on your move, to family and friends, for consignment or estate sale, for donation or to throw away in the dumpster.
EYE CARE SPECIALISTS
Next to arthritis and heart disease, low vision is the most common handicap among Americans age 65 and older. “As we see in our clinics each day,” says Dr. Michael Raciti of Eye Care Specialists, “low vision can have a variety of causes and consequences. Fortunately, there is usually a medical, surgical or laser treatment that can address each concern.”
For example, says Raciti, a partner at the ophthalmology practice that has
overseen the care of more than 130,000 Wisconsinites since 1985, a cataract is the clouding of the natural lens in the eye, which typically occurs as part of the aging process. Six out of 10 people over age 60 experience symptoms, including blurriness, glare sensitivity and halos around lights. Treatment involves surgically removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a lens implant to refocus light rays onto the retina for crisp vision. Patients can resume activities within hours.
Glaucoma is a condition (often related to increased eye fluid pressure) that causes progressive damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma usually does not present symptoms and, left untreated, can cause permanent tunneling (loss) of side vision and eventually all sight. Treatment involves prescription eye drops and/or laser or surgical procedures.
Age-related macular degeneration is a breakdown of the specialized part of the retina needed for central vision to read, drive, see faces or clocks, do close work, etc. “Dry” AMD may be prevented or slowed with vitamin supplements, sun protection and not smoking. Progression of the more serious “wet” form can often be halted with regular in-eye medication injections.
“Poor vision doesn’t have to be a fact of life with aging,” Raciti says. “Take action. See an eye-care specialist to determine whether it’s simply the need for a new lens prescription or the start of a vision-threatening condition that is most likely treatable as well as covered by Medicare and insurance.”
VILLA AT BRADLEY ESTATES
The Villa at Bradley Estates embraces the concept that if you focus effort on taking care of your employees, so that people enjoy coming to work, the place will achieve better patient care and outcomes.
“Our work environment is getting better every day,” says Tom Henschel, administrator of the skilled nursing and rehabilitation center at 6735 W. Bradley Road.
“We also believe that we have a responsibility to meet the needs of our community,” Henschel says. “We have met with our communities’ medical professionals as well as assessing our competitors, so that we avoid unnecessary overlap of services.”
Bradley Estates, which provides both short-term and long-term care to its patients, is currently in the process of developing and executing what Villa calls “asset definition.”
“We are assessing and changing processes to improve our outcomes,” Henschel says. There are some exciting changes coming, including in-house dialysis, improvements of clinical capabilities, focused services specific to veterans, and services geared towards alcohol and drug dependency.
“We would love to share more specifics and would welcome anyone to tour and learn more about our plans to meet the needs of our community,” Henschel says.
SAINT JOHN’S ON THE LAKE
A new steel and glass tower rising along North Prospect Avenue will significantly expand one of the city’s premier retirement homes – but more importantly improve its health care operation.
“Our project’s goal is to recreate health care at Saint John’s in a way that respects our residents’ needs and desires and incorporates best practices, supports ongoing innovation and responds to the desire to provide employees an opportunity to deliver excellence,” says Renee Anderson, president and CEO of Saint John’s Communities Inc., 1840 N. Prospect Ave.
The new tower, along East Kane Place, will be the complex’s third – joining the original building, constructed in 1979, and one completed in 2011. The home, founded in 1868, was previously at other locations.
“The impetus of this project was around recreating our health center and not necessarily about expansion,” Anderson says. “However, the opportunity to expand provides the financial wherewithal to replace health care.”
Saint John’s now has 50 skilled-nursing rooms and 24 assisted-living suites; the project will replace those with improved units and add 16 suites that are hybrids of assisted- and independent-living apartments. All the new assisted-living and skilled-care units will have full bathrooms – not currently the case – and there will be more space, more natural light and more generous common areas. In addition, the new construction is replacing Saint John’s health clinic, therapy rooms and salon and adding additional assets.
The upper floors of the new 22-story tower will consist of 79 new apartments. Many of the prospective residents come from the community’s lengthy waiting list, Anderson says. The $123 million project is expected to be finished in 2020, with phased move-ins starting in January. For more information, go to saintjohnsmilw.org.
St. Camillus, too, is excited about the future of its new Independent Living expansion plans. The East Residence Independent Living expansion includes a 15-story building with 168 luxury apartments with large, open living spaces, granite countertops and floor-to-ceiling windows. The expansion of the campus at 10200 W. Bluemound Rd. offers 12 floor plans and lets residents personalize their dream retirement home during pre-construction.
The East Residence will feature multiple culinary options including a bistro, sports pub, formal dining room and a deli. Residents will also enjoy social opportunities including daily Mass, a rotating art gallery, theater and a brand-new wellness center with a pool.
“We are excited for what the future holds for St. Camillus Life Plan Community,” says CEO Kevin Schwab. “St. Camillus is eager to continue to provide the best quality care and services for years to come. ”
St. Camillus’ vision for the future focuses on three key elements: tradition, compassion and innovation. This fall, St. Camillus is rolling out a multidimensional resident program called Revitalize Wellness which encompasses the whole-person wellness concept and supports successful aging in Independent Living. It promotes six dimensions of wellness to support the journey to optimal health including physical, community, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional aspects.
“We are dedicated to offering the most comprehensive and innovative programs to our residents to increase strength, resilience, stamina and overall health,” says wellness navigator Maggie VerBrugge, an RN.
A faith-based not-for-profit, St. Camillus Life Plan Community has been proudly serving southeastern Wisconsin for over 90 years. ◆
Saint John’s on the Lake’s new tower, now under construction, is at right in this rendering.