By Kevin Kelley
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, longtermcare.gov, seven out of 10 people turning 65 will likely need some type of long-term care in their lifetime.
To help seniors and their families navigate the challenges of moving later in life, the Westlake Community Services Department will host a free senior housing fair from 9 to 11 a.m. Feb. 21 at the Community Services Center, 29694 Center Ridge Road. The free event is open to both Westlake residents and nonresidents. Those wanting to attend must register before Feb. 14 by calling 440-899-3544.
A panel discussion covering the basics of senior housing will take place during the first hour. Topics will include the various types of senior housing, affordability, signs it may be time to move and selling one’s home. Kim Bermann of Generations Healthcare, Jill Kolczyinski of My New Villa, Kathy Bultema of Devon Oaks and Sherry Ascher of Howard Hanna are scheduled to participate.
During the second hour, attendees can meet with representatives from some of the local senior housing providers, including Arden Courts, Berea Lake Towers/Crystal Water, Brookdale, Devon Oaks, Independence Village, My New Villa, O’Neill HealthCare, The Gardens of Westlake and West Bay Center.
Donna Feorene, the Westlake Community Services Department’s outreach coordinator, said the event, open to both seniors and their family members, is designed as an easy way to learn about the issues related to senior housing needs. Information will be relevant both for those facing an immediate need as well those planning for the future, she said.
Many seniors who frequent the Westlake Community Services Center are unfamiliar with the various types of housing available, the cost and other issues surrounding a move, Feorene said. Options range from apartment complexes reserved for seniors to assisted living facilities to skilled nursing homes.
“They first have to consider which option is right for them,” Feorene told West Life. Then they should schedule a visit, she advised.
Feorene said she has observed food and the availability of transportation at a senior living facility are among the two most important considerations for many people.
“Planning in advance reduces stress when an immediate need arises,” Feorene added. Those facing a diagnosis of dementia should decide and state what they want before symptoms worsen, she said.
Some seniors will face a temporary need to leave their home for rehabilitation following an injury or illness. Having an idea of what options are available beforehand can be very beneficial, Feorene said.
“When you’re coming out of a hospital, you don’t have time to think about these things,” she said.
Westlake residents and their families who are unable to attend or have additional questions can schedule a free, private appointment with Feorene by contacting the department. Further information about the social services provided by the Community Services Department and links to resources can be found at www.cityofwestlake.org/Social-Services.