Adult Children Share Experience with Assisting Parent Choose Senior Living Community

Health and Fitness

July 29, 2016

Choosing where to live during retirement is a significant decision. Do you stay in the family home, or do you opt for something smaller and maintenance free where you will be among your peers? Seniors may opt to make this decision alone, but more often than not look to their adult children for assistance and input. Previously, adult children may have felt guilty about suggesting their parents live in a senior living community. However, as the market continues to mature, it has become apparent that some communities are not like the nursing homes they envisioned, but are actually upscale residential properties with resort-style amenities. Avanti Senior Living at Vision Park which will soon open in Shenandoah is shaking the negative paradigm of the old-fashioned nursing home and helping adult children to recognize the senior living community is a vastly different concept and will be a place they wouldn't mind living in themselves. Two adult daughters, Nancy Hathaway and Dianne Holmes, recently helped their mothers consider options, and their mothers will soon move into Avanti Senior Living at Vision Park.


"While we knew my mother didn't need a nursing home, we wanted an assisted living community where care for her would be personalized and where she would have a lot of choices," said Hathaway.  "We were pleasantly surprised last summer when we discovered Avanti, which truly has a different standard of excellence--from the preparation and quality of the food to the boutique-hotel look of the community, the concierge services available, the use of cutting-edge technology, their system for providing health and clinical care, and the many choices offered the residents.  In general, the perspective and order of priorities at Avanti are different from anything we have encountered in other assisted living communities."


Hathaway and her husband, John, did not want to pressure her 96-year-old mother, Geneva Dake, into making a decision that was not her own, so she casually mentioned reading about Avanti Senior Living at Vision Park in the paper and let her mother initiate the idea of visiting. The Hathaways did not want to push the idea too hard, so they barely talked about it at first. They wanted to be sure this was something her mother wanted and was intrigued by. After meeting with Angela Copeland, executive director for Avanti Senior Living at Vision Park, Mrs. Dake had great hope that this was the community for her. She has confidence that the food will be delicious, the care will come from a compassionate team who goes above-and-beyond, and the entire atmosphere will be uplifting. The use of new, innovative technology to integrate and update healthcare records in real-time with surrounding clinicians and hospitals was extremely appealing to Mrs. Dake and her family.


"After touring the sister community in Cypress, which opened last year, we have decided that Avanti has an innovative and unique approach to senior living, and we cannot wait for the opening of Avanti Senior Living at Vision Park," said Hathaway. "The communities are beautiful, and really do look like boutique-hotels. I believe my mom will enjoy using the salon and spa within the community, and I think it would be fun for us to get a service together every so often, like pedicures. We dined at their restaurant, Taste, and were impressed by the food as well. Then to top it off, the location is right by my mother's doctors and her preferred stores for shopping. My mother will be one of the first three residents to move in, and the opening of the Vision Park community cannot come fast enough!"


Glynn Gaffney, the mother of Dianne Holmes, will also be one of the first three residents to move into the community this July. Gaffney is 92 years old and wants to stay in The Woodlands area to be close to her family. When choosing the right senior living community, they knew they wanted one that would have a flexible schedule for Gaffney's late sleeping habits.


"Many senior living communities offer a stringent window of opportunity for daily enjoyments like meal times," said Holmes. "My mother has been fighting the move into assisted living, but after we told her she could maintain her own schedule and do what she wanted, she was more open to the idea. The biggest thing for her is the non-regimented schedule. She sleeps really late and would miss meals if she lived in a community with set meal times and no made-to-order options. At Avanti, my mom can have whatever she wants to eat at whatever time she wakes up essentially what works best for her. We both love knowing that the food will be fresh and custom made per her request."


Another important factor in the decision was the opportunity to surround Gaffney with more of her peers, where she can participate in group activities and meet more people. Social engagement becomes very important after a spouse is gone. Holmes is excited that Avanti will offer stimulating things such as the opportunities to participate in a real book club that anyone would want to attend, try out an art class led by a true artist in a studio and not an arts-and-crafts room, or attend educational seminars and be stimulated by culture. For Holmes, the important thing is that her mother will have a variety of things to choose to participate in every day and not just one activity per hour. For a long time, it has been about bringing the outside world into the community so that residents didn't have to leave. The future generation doesn't want that though; in fact, that's what they are afraid of. They want a lifestyle full of choices and opportunities to leave the campus. They want to feel engaged, cultured and full of life experiences.


"Many people are quick to state that they would never send their parents to a nursing home, and don't understand how children can pawn their parents off on places like that where they are sure to be neglected," said Angela Copeland, executive director for Avanti Senior Living at Vision Park. "However, senior living communities are vastly different than the nursing home images we have in our minds. Avanti is here to be a resource to the community and help people as they make this big, yet exciting decision.  We have differentiated ourselves by accommodating residents' preferred schedules instead of making them conform to a one-size-fits-all routine. We do pride ourselves on the quality of our amenities and services provided to residents. We are so excited to open our doors and welcome our new residents so we can expose them to the full Avanti experience."