Posts Tagged ‘senior living’

Beyond The Sunbelt

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

From Low-Cost to Luxury, Retirement Living Has Never Looked Better

By Lynn Woods   for Generation Monthly September 2012

Once, retirement meant moving to warmer climates and trading in work for rounds of golf, often until frailty and advanced age led to a nursing home. Today, for many, that option has become passé. They made 40 the new 30, they caused a new-paradigm-spawning social revolution, and now baby boomers are retiring differently from their parents.

They don’t want to be so far from their kids. And there’s the weather: global warming is linked to the droughts that are devastating a large part of the Sunbelt. Some are not retiring at all, instead moving on to new careers. Plus, simple economic necessity is causing many seniors to stay put. All of these factors are increasing the Hudson Valley’s geographical appeal.  (more…)


The Birches at Fishkill

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

The Birches at Fishkill is the latest concept from Bichez Associates, an award-winning developer of affordable housing in the Hudson Valley. The plan calls for 72 elegant affordable senior-housing apartments situated on the beautiful Elant at Fishkill nursing home campus.

The Birches at Fishkill is dedicated to the concept of an enriched community lifestyle, enabling people to age in place with dignity and, when needed, providing the comfort of first-class medical resources from the staff of the adjacent Elant, one of the most respected providers of healthcare services in the  region.

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Come join our community!

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The Birches at Esopus, an independent and affordable living community for individuals 55 years and older, is now accepting applications for our one and two bedroom units.

Don’t just visit! Call The Birches at Esopus your new home. Take a peaceful stroll and relish the views and soft breezes of the majestic Hudson River. Relax at one of the gazebos or patio areas, tastefully and strategically placed in the charming landscape.

Our unique location provides easy access to the Library, Town Hall, Restaurants and Shopping.

Don’t drive? No Worries!  We are on the Kingston City Bus line, which makes frequent daily stops outside our spacious atrium.

Amenities: Heat and Hot included; Wall-to-wall Carpet; Spacious Closets; Emergency Pulls in each Unit; Large, Secure Storage Area Per Unit; Fitness Center, with Instructor; On-site Laundry Facilities; Closed Circuit Security System; 24-hour Maintenance Service; Craft Room, Library & Game Room; Large Community Room; Media/Theater Room; Outdoor Patio with Gas Grill; Bocce Ball Court; Off-street Parking; On-site City Bus Transportation

Don’t Delay! Come join us for a tour of Ulster Park’s best kept secret — you won’t want to leave! 

The Birches at Esopus

35 Dick Williams Lane

Ulster Park, NY 12487

(845) 338-6173


A Sweet Treat

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

February 13, 2012
Residents of The Birches at Esopus celebrated Valentine’s Day in style with a delectable brunch of homemade treats, plenty of smiling faces and friendly hugs from a special guest. The Community Room was decked out in style for the event, which was organized by the residents of this premier affordable senior housing community which overlooks the Hudson River.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey & Fortunée Bennett.

Congressma Maurice Hinchey, who the residents lauded for his longtime support of and fight for seniors’ rights, dined with the residents, listened to their concerns and clearly enjoyed the delicious fare. He’s shown to the left enjoying a laugh with resident Fortunee Bennett.

Steve and Judy Aaron, who are responsible for this Birchez Associates community, praised those responsible for organizing the event, while delighting in the diversity of the scrumptious spread.

Bill & MaryAnn Banks

Longtime Valentines Bill and MaryAnn Banks, happily married for 35 years, spoke lovingly about the changes in their lifestyle since joining the Birches community and of the many activities and amenities offered at the facility. One of MaryAnn’s choices is the bus that comes to the door and takes her for excursions at the Mall (especially when Bill’s working or watching a game!).

Residents Eileen McGuire & Shirley Shumate

Spry and chic, the 91 year-young Shirley Shumate looked positively captivating in her red Valentine dress. For some seniors keeping in shape comes naturally, but many take advantage of the Fitness Studio, complete with instructor at no charge, at The Birches at Esopus.

Eileen McGuire, pictured with Shirley in the picture to the left, is president of the Residents Club at this award-winning facility.

Roseann Harominek spoke glowingly of her new life at the Birches at Esopus – as shown in the picture below, her smile speaks volumes. Many who attended were in their late 80s and 90s, fitting tribute to the aging in place philosophy of The Birches at Esopus and other Birchez Associates communities in the Hudson Valley.

Roseann Harominek


Valentines from loving hands

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Seniors give to other Seniors

Pictured is one of two hundred Valentine cards made by The Birchez at Esopus Crafts Club.

Birches at Esopus resident and crafter Barbara Fidow shows off a card.

For the last several weeks, a dedicated group of crafters at The Birches at Esopus have handcrafted some two hundred Valentine’s Day cards. And where have they directed Cupid’s arrows? The Golden Hill Health Care Center, Ulster County’s nursing home, located off the Boulevard in Kingston. Started 65 years ago, Golden Hill provides both rehabilitation services and long-term health care.

A range of materials were creatively incorporated in these one of kind cards. Ribbons, jewels, doilies, wallpaper, whatever these clever crafters had at hand. Designs varied from whimsical to modern, something for everyone’s tastes.

According to Crafts Club member Marie Shultis, this is the third year the Esopus seniors have created Valentine’s Day cards for the seniors at Golden Hill. “If we had one thing to do over, we would have started earlier,” she said. But with a new target of 200 cards this year, their highest to date, they made it with a few days to spare.

Some Birches at Esopus Crafts Club members in the final stretch (seated: Janis Loring, Rae Skinner, Barbara Fidow, Ruby Sterling,
standing: Senior Advocate for Birchez Associates communities Alice Tipp.)

At Golden Hill, Marie Shultis tells Resident Virginia Burhans how the card was made; Ruby Sterling looks on.

On Friday, February 10th, a contingent of the crafters met with a few residents of Golden Hill to present the cards. The intent is that the cards could be used to brighten the resident’s room or to give to a loved one.

Golden Hill resident Ralph Hayner shows off his pick as Ruby Sterling and Barbara Fidow smile with approval.

As The Birches at Esopus group chatted with the residents, there was some sharing of techniques and materials used. Marie Shultis talked about some exacting measurements used in various crafts to make sure the results look as best as possible. Looking at the results, one might even say professional!

(More text below photos.)

Resident Ken Hyatt has his choice of cards presented by Janis Loring and Marie Shultis.

The Crafts Clubs keep busy year ’round at both The Birches at Esopus and The Birches at Chambers. Chambers has had two annual collaborative events knitting hats for children with cancer.

At Esopus, the crafts room has shown off holiday gifts ranging from cards, kissing balls, knitted scarves and hats, and at this time of year, lots of red cards.

Every now and then the public gets a chance to check out the crafts at The Birches at Esopus. Last year, during the Town of Esopus Fall Festival, the tour bus made a stop at this senior affordable community so interested purchasers could browse the Crafts Club’s creations. We’ll let you know when the seniors have newly created crafts to share.


Plan now for family’s eldercare

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Note: It is important for a senior and a senior’s family to know where the senior is in the aging-in-place, continuum of care forecast. While Birchez communities are clearly oriented towards aging in place in an affordable setting, it is important for the family to consider the overall picture:

Written by Anya Kamenetz, Tribune Media Services

Poughkeepsie Journal, January 9, 2012

One day, most of us are likely to have an elderly family member who needs round-the-clock care. Putting a transition plan in place now can save you significant money, time and headaches down the road. Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor, pays for about half of all nursing home care in the U.S.

Diana Adams is an attorney in private practice in New York State doing eldercare law. She’s also currently applying for Medicaid for her elderly father. “If families are not prepared, the cost of long-term care is going to quickly absorb all the family’s assets,” she says. “This kind of issue is one of the reasons many middle-class people don’t end up with an inheritance.”

This column will focus on qualifying for Medicaid while protecting your assets. A future column will look at other options, such as long-term care insurance.

1) What can I keep?

When someone goes into a nursing home, he or she can retain up to $13,800 in assets. Any spouse or dependent, if still living independently, is entitled to keep his or her house and a car. On top of that, the so-called “community spouse” can also hold onto at least $21,912 and up to $109,560 of the couple’s joint assets. All of these figures increase with inflation each year and vary by state. You can also use some assets to purchase a prepaid funeral plan.

2) What might I lose?

Besides that house, car, funeral plan and sum of cash, everything else a couple owns is fair game to pay for nursing home care, which costs a median of $115,000 annually in New York state and $62,000 in Alabama. When you apply for Medicaid, the state looks back at your financial records for five years to establish that you have no further money to pay for care out of pocket. If you put the title of your home in a child’s name or transfer money into a grandchild’s college fund during that five-year look-back period, the government is entitled to take those assets. They will even take the payoff on a life insurance policy. So if you have any reason to believe that someone in your family might need care within five years, now is the best time to hire an eldercare attorney and look into setting up a Medicaid trust or other transfer of assets to try to preserve your inheritance.

3) What’s the application process like?

Most states maintain websites that give you an overview of the process. In brief, you need your Social Security number, tax returns to prove income from federal benefits or private pensions, information on your assets such as bank accounts and insurance policies, a marriage certificate (if any), proof of address such as a mortgage statement or piece of mail, and insurance and Medicare benefit cards.

4) What happens next?

Once your relative is approved for Medicaid and safely placed in care, it’s time to turn your attention to the community spouse or dependent.

Be cautious and always consult a professional who is familiar with the laws in your particular state before attempting any steps to shield assets from Medicaid, be it a trust, a transfer or a gift.


Going Strong at 100

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Recent projections on seniors living longer are certainly borne out at The Birches communities. Just last week members of the Residents Club for The Birches at Chambers and Chambers Court met to fete William McDonough on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

Bill was born November 23, 1911, and he considers himself “just an ordinary guy.” Bill didn’t know why people would make such a fuss. So he was surprised at the turnout that included residents, owners Steve and Judy Aaron, and staff of Birchez Associates and Rondout Properties. Or that we would want to interview him.

Earlier this year, Bill was honored as a centenarian by the Ulster County Office for the Aging. On the left, pictured before the luncheon began at the Hillside Manor, is Bill with his loyal helper Dorothea Schwenk, a resident of Chambers Court since 2004.

Since the County’s celebration, it’s been about six months of birthday acknowledgments. He brought one to the party this week, a birthday card from the President and First Lady (click on the photo so you can read it!). This was in addition to the number of declarations and proclamations from many local politicians and dignitaries including State Senator John Bonacic, Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, and Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.

Bill lived in the area for 25 years before moving to Chambers Court early in 2008. He values living in a safe senior community. Bill says he’s found a really nice place and values the new friends he’s made.

Bill served as a conductor for the New York Central Railroad for many years. His “route” was Grand Central to Buffalo on the 20th Century Limited. At the time it was the fastest train out there. Today Bill wonders why people want to go much faster. “When I think of some of these tiny cars speeding down the highway at 70 miles per hour, I don’t think it’s safe. Why is everyone in such a hurry?”

Bill is, at the moment, the only centenarian living at one of the Birches Communities but there are a number of residents close behind. Currently there are 43 residents aged 85 and over, with 14 of those 90 or over. In the picture to the right taken at the Residents’ celebration, Bill is pictured with Tess Glassman, a Birches at Chambers resident who turned 90 on November 20th. Between them is Steve Aaron, founder and managing member of Birchez Associates which developed and manages four senior communities in Ulster County.

Steve Aaron spoke about aging in place in independent living communities. “Bill’s a great example of why I believe so in the aging-in-place concept. It’s a better quality of life and much more economical for society than nursing homes or alternate level of care facilities.” Most units at The Birches Communities are handicapped ready if not fully ADA handicapped accessible. Home care and personal care aides from a number of local agencies can help provide assistance with daily living tasks which allows many seniors to spend their time “at home.”

Steve went on to say, “Annecdotally, we’re hearing that our residents, when they do have to be hospitalized or spend time in a rehab setting, are coming home sooner because the apartments’ features encourage that. They don’t have to wait for a ramp to be built or a bedroom created on the first floor or even the necessity to move from their home.”

– K.J. McIntyre, Director of Marketing, Birchez Associates


“We’re Not Ready”: More Bad News About Retirement

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Source: DailyFinance.com by Eamon Murphy posted 12/5/11

The idea of retirement in America is becoming increasingly far removed from the idyllic notion of our “golden years.” For many, it’s now just another source of worry, despair and resignation.

Last month, Ameriprise Financial  and Wells Fargo each separately released ominous retirement surveys. The first reported that respondents aged 40 to 75 in the nation’s largest cities were significantly less confident this year than last about their ability to retire; increased feelings of retirement-related anxiety and depression were also reported.

The second report, based on a poll of 1,500 middle-class Americans, declared that when it comes to retirement, “80 is the new 65,” with 74% of middle-class respondents expecting to work past the traditional retirement age, and a quarter expecting to work until at least 80 to achieve a comfortable retirement. There was one small ray of hope in those the numbers — 35% said they expect to work past 65 because they want to, not because they’ll need to.

These days, though, even relatively sunny retirement news comes tinged with dark qualifications. A study of retiree attitudes produced by the Society of Actuaries, LIMRA and the International Foundation for Retirement Education found that although confidence was on the rise, financial planning is fundamentally inadequate: Only 45% of respondents believed that their retirement assets would need to last 20 years, the figure given by experts as the smart target. “It’s clear that retirees are hoping for the best or even taking an autopilot approach,” said one of the study’s authors.
Now, USA Today is reporting that “more Americans are finding themselves in their 50s and 60s with practically no money saved for retirement.” The last decade saw no growth in the stock market and included two bear-markets that devastated portfolios. Unemployment has been a scourge, preventing many from getting back on their feet after financial adversity. And the torpid real estate market has sucked value from people’s homes, undermining their use as financial safety nets.

Jogging headlong into this confluence of horrible economic conditions is the massive Baby Boom generation, setting up a potential nightmare scenario in which the ranks of the retired are swelled by fresh millions of Americans largely unable to pay their expenses.

That danger is real. According to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 56% of workers say they have less than $25,000 in savings. This figure is deeply distressing, given how expensive retirement promises to be: Assuming 3% inflation and a 5% annual return from investments, a 65-year-old will need to have $1.1 million saved in order to net an income of $50,000 a year in inflation-adjusted dollars.
Those who simply have insufficient savings are hardly the worst off: 42% of those polled by the EBRI said that their current level of debt is a problem.

for Advice for the Far-From-Retirement Crowd see the full article

So what can younger people learn from the perilous state of those currently approaching retirement? America’s twentysomethings are clearly in need of advice: In a recent survey by the PNC Financial Services Group (PNC), only 23% rated themselves as totally independent, and just 18% expressed confidence that they’ll have enough money to live comfortably when it comes time to retire.


Doing 90

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

November 29, 2011:  The Report 90+ in the United States: 2006-2008 was issued this month by the American Consumer Survey (ACS), which is sponsored by the US Census Bureau. The ACS gathers data for the Census Bureau on an annual basis; this data is utilized by communities in allocating investments and services. Unfortunately, crunching the data and reformatting it into readable, intelligible reports takes time. Hence the appearance of three-year lag; in reality the 2010 census is cited in some instances.

Significant in the findings is that 90+ is the new 85+. Many demographic reports analyze age groupings such as 55 to 64, 65 to 74, and then 85+. This assumes a commonality in the group and/or smaller numbers that may not be reliable statistically. Yet the reality shown in this  report is that there are some sharp distinctions, even in the five year segment breakdowns of 85 to 89, 90 to 94, and 95+. Certainly as our seniors of today age healthier than their predecessors this will morph expectations for these segments.

This segment is growing both in size and proportion of the older population. Between 1980 and 2010, the people aged 90 and over almost tripled to 1.9 million. Projections are that the 90+ segment will more than quadruple by 2050, in comparison to a doubling of the population 65 to 89.

New York currently ranks third (after California and Florida) in the sheer number of 90+ residents, but it’s not even in the top ten when comparing the percentage of 90+ versus the 65+ populations by state.

The report details racial and educational statistics, and considering the report covers those born in 1918, this is an educated group. Perhaps not a surprise that women aged 90+ outnumber 90+ men nearly 3 to 1.

The economic numbers are certainly of interest in the affordable housing field:

  • Social Security represents almost half of total personal income for the 90+ (47.9%)
  • The poverty rate for the 90+ is higher than that for those aged 65-89
  • 16.5% of women and 9.6% of men aged 90 and older were in poverty 2006-2008

When one considers this in the perspective that many baby boomers are ill prepared for retirement, and certainly for living some 20 years longer than expected, the economic forecast for this segment is of concern. Further compounding this is that the report addresses the 2006-2008 period, during which the source of 29.8% of 90+ income was  ”other” (which would include directly held investments), and 18.3% came from retirement accounts. Given the financial upheaval from the end of that period to the present would indicate that the 2011-2012 period would mean the 90+ segment might well be relying on Social Security for more than half of their income.

Difficulty doing errands alone and mobility-related limitations are the two most common types of disability for the 90+ (disability in this context is defined as a substantial limitation in a major life activity). Appropriate transportation modalities, proximity of services and handicapped accessibility will be key features of senior housing to come.

Aging in place will play an important role for the 90+ segment. While the percent of people with disabilities increases sharply with aging (see below), the nature of the disability(ies) may determine whether the individual needs an institutionalized setting or not. Certainly advances in senior housing facilities and services offer alternatives to more expensive nursing homes or even alternative level of care  facilities.

  • Ages 85-89      80.4% report one or more disabilities
  • Ages 90-94      82.7%
  • Ages 95+          91.2

To see the full American Community Survey Report, 90+ in the United States: 2006-2008, authored by Wan He and Mark N. Munchrath,  click here.

- K.J. McIntyre


Stylin’ Seniors

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

November 28, 2011 – As Baby Boomers take center stage, much is written on their spending patterns, use of technology, travel ideas, and more. But one of the most encouraging and inspiring takes comes from stylist Ari Seth Cohen in his blog Advanced Style, which proffers “Proof from the wise and silver haired set that personal style advances with age”. Ari’s subjects, male and female, are over 50 — and fabulous! He certainly demonstrates that age is no barrier to style.

To the right, meet Rose, age 100, as she poses for Ari’s blog.

Ari’s book, Advanced Style, is on pre-order with Amazon with an April 2012 publication date (that’s a shame because I would have loved to gift it this holiday season). As with his blog, the book promises insights from his subjects, an interview with a 91 year old subject, and delicious photos (many apparently candid, on-the-streets of New York photos).

Meanwhile, Ari’s blog also offers videos and enchanting tidbits on matching vintage items, and playing with different costumes and styles. Hats are plentiful and I predict an influx of designer canes!

I’ve seen many of our senior residents at the Birches communities, where the average age is in the 70s, styled and ready for their close up. Whether they are dressed for the fitness studio, the movie theater, or on their way out the door, many show great flair.

The old perception that the elderly dressed in dusters and wasted away their waning years in front of the TV just doesn’t play with today’s seniors. Fair warning, we’ll be featuring some of our own Stylin’ Seniors in future blogs.

Another of Ari’s elegant subjects is Ruth, shown to the left, who is also 100 years old.

-- K.J. McIntyre