Retirement Planning and Living

Readying yourself for retirement can be a trying process. Start early, gain insight from family and friends, and look for a place where you can enjoy your golden years. Use these tips from local experts to make a plan and start your journey.


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photo: thinkstock

#1 Know What’s Right for You

Assisted living communities or adult residential care homes are great options for the elderly who need more help than their family or friends can provide.

Choosing one of Oahu’s many great care facilities will ease the hardship of daily life activities for many seniors, such as cooking, housekeeping and managing their medications. “Personal care and assistance are readily available when they need it,” assures Darlene Canto, Director of Marketing at Kahala Nui. “ An assisted living setting offers the safety and security of 24-hour support and access to care. Day or night, help is only a call away.”  Seniors have opportunities for new and stimulating programs including the important aspect of socialization — interaction with fellow residents and staff. Hiolani Care Center at Kahala Nui provides assisted living, memory support and nursing services to seniors in the greater community and to Kahala Nui residents as well.

Kahala Nui, a continuing care community for independent seniors who are still involved in the community and fully engaged in a variety of activities, offers worry-free retirement living and a comprehensive life care plan. Canto says it is important to know your needs, and what type of service and care is right for you.
 


Kahala Nui residents enjoy one of many planned activities.

photo: courtesy kahala nui

#2 Suit Yourself

Picking a retirement or assisted living community is a personal decision that you should make with your family and loved ones. It is important to be confident and comfortable with your new environment. “Your goal should be to find a community that fits you and who you are and not a community that you need to fit into,” says Tricia Medeiros, regional director at Plaza Assisted Living. “Our environment is one that fosters independence and allows residents to make choices from the many options we offer.”

Take time to test out the facilities and meet your hopeful neighbors. Medeiros suggests that prospective residents sample one of the daily meals prepared by The Plaza’s local chef, and join in an afternoon activity to meet new friends. A full schedule of activities, catered daily to the likes and dislikes of the residents, is always available, as is weekly housekeeping, laundry and linen services, scheduled transportation, and nursing options.
 

 

Plaza Assisted Living provides a comfortable and secure environment.

photo: courtesy Plaza Assisted Living

#3 Do Research Early

After visiting various communities and deciding which one you like, talk to your financial planner and learn what you can afford. Identify your needs and define your interests. Also, be sure to select a community that matches your current and future financial capability. “Often times, seniors find themselves in a situation where they need to make decisions urgently and don’t have an understanding of all their options,” explains Medeiros. “Doing your homework early allows you to make appropriate decisions when the time comes.”

Although each experience should be unique to the individual, there are a couple of necessary traits to look for when choosing a retirement community. Look for place with a beautiful location, quality of service and low staff turnover. “Many of our caring and compassionate employees have been assisting residents for more than ten years. We encourage a solution-oriented service program with our employees who are empowered to provide a positive experience for our residents,” says Leona Hirahara of Pohai Nani Good Samaritan Retirement Community.

#4 Make Peace of Mind a Top Priority

“We opened our doors in 2005 and residents are still thanking me for guiding them through the process of moving into Kahala Nui,” says Canto. “Life care offers peace of mind. Kahala Nui residents live an active, independent lifestyle, and are reassured knowing that if a higher level of care is needed, quality care will be provided on the same campus at the Hiolani Care Center.”

An important benefit of an assisted living and continuing care community is the peace of mind that is afforded to each resident and their family members. Knowing that a caring staff is available to help a loved one is of great comfort to families.
 


Kahala Nui offers fun and energizing activities.

photo: courtesy kahala nui


Plaza Assisted Living offers delicious and nutritious meals.

photo: courtesy plaza assisted living

#5 Consider the Continuum of Care

It’s important to consider your future health needs. “Typically an elderly person who moves into a care home will enter at a certain level of functionality and their needs will grow as they age. For example, people come to us needing minimal assistance with their daily care needs and our ability to provide a broad range of care makes it possible for residents to age in place. This minimizes the number of moves an elderly person might need to make as their care needs grow and that gives the family a great deal of peace of mind,” says Robert Nogami, RN, Director of Nursing at Manoa Senior Care.
 

 

Kahala Nui programs are designed for active lifestyles.

photo: courtesy kahala nui

#6 Finding Home Close to Home

Look for a community where you can assimilate and feel at home. Being close to family or even in your own neighborhood can help ease the transition into your new residence and lifestyle. “Because our homes offer a neighborhood setting and only take eight residents, we provide an intimate environment and a real family dynamic for our residents,” says Paul M. Dold, President of Manoa Senior Care. “Our nurses and nurse assistants know each resident down to how they take their coffee. Our tight-knit living environment allows us to keep our residents and their families happy and comfortable. Plus, our convenient locations mean that families and friends often live near-by and can visit frequently and easily.”
 


15 Craigside offers a wide range of ways to enjoy fitness.

photo: courtesy 15 Craigside

#7 Preparation is Key

Prepare all facets of your life for your new journey. Downsize your belongings by making donations, gifting them to friends and loved ones, or selling them. Ready yourself for this change by making arrangements while you are still healthy and in control. Think about both the personal and practical adjustments you may need to make to ease into your new community. “The way to prepare is to take action before you lose the ability to control your future,” says Suzie Schulberg, Chief Operating Officer at 15 Craigside and The Arcadia Family of Companies. “Surprisingly, many people fail to do this, which can limit options.”
 

#8 Ask Around and Stop By

Ask physicians, friends and neighbors for opinions and recommendations on senior care facilities. Senior service providers at 15 Craigside and Arcadia also facilitate adult day programs all over the Island—stop in for a day to experience an hour or two of the staff and activities for yourself. “Our residents experience more social interaction, activities, excursions and really just freedom to do things every day,” says Schulberg. “This is what keeps them happy, healthy and engaged. Everyone wants to see their loved ones happy and leading meaningful lives. Our residents and their families will tell you this a good way to ensure that.”

 

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