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The Benefits of a CCRC: How Does Home Care Compare?

As we and our loved ones all age, there will likely come a time when a decision needs to be made about the best option for continuing care. When looking at senior living communities, and all the different options — like assisted living, memory care, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), and more — it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that’s available. The world of continuing care communities is large, and sometimes it may feel like the easiest option is simply to continue living in the place you and your loved ones already call home. However, aging in place has the potential to be more difficult, and more expensive, than it seems. By taking the steps to identify the right time to explore senior living communities like The Spires at Berry College, this transition into life’s next chapter can ultimately be exactly the right choice for everyone involved.

Reasons for Change

Everybody has a different reason for exploring their options among continuing care communities. Maybe it’s just time to downsize and move into a place where the future feels secured. Or, an extra hand might be needed in order to complete some everyday tasks, which no longer makes living alone feasible. If more serious assistance is required, skilled nursing or memory care may be the best choice. To help you find your reason, here are some things to consider when exploring senior living communities:

1. Caregiver Burnout

Providing care for someone is hard work — physically, mentally and emotionally. The responsibility of caring for an older loved one comes with a wide range of unique challenges that, over time, can leave caregivers feeling overwhelmed, especially as health declines in our senior years. Long hours, endless work to do, little time for anything more than caregiving—all of it can take a toll on friends and family members during the best of times. In the era of Covid-19, providing care for seniors has become even more challenging. The stress and pressures of caregiving during a pandemic, where the potential for infection is especially high for seniors, can understandably cause burnout and create both the need and desire for the kinds of specialized care that are best provided by senior living communities.

2. Home Care Services

At first glance, the cost of senior living communities can be enough to deter you or your loved one from considering them as a viable option. If that’s what has held you or your loved ones back so far, compare the costs of home care using our retirement calculator. While the ability to receive professional care in the comforts of home is an understandably appealing prospect, it also has the potential to place seniors at risk of theft, fraud, neglect and other situations harmful to their health. As healthcare needs increase, they’ll likely need more specialized care, which could mean hiring several different home care specialists. Not only does this add more stress of trying to find experienced, trustworthy professionals, but in a pandemic there’s also a greater need to limit the exposure seniors have to people coming in and out of the house.

3. Isolation

Social interaction is vital to our mental and emotional wellbeing, especially when it comes to seniors. All too often, our older loved ones spend the majority of their time at home, limiting their ability to socialize with friends. An unfortunate side effect from a lack of socialization is depression caused by isolation. Not only does this add to the stress of both seniors and their caregivers, but it can also ramp up cognitive decline, leading to memory loss and even Alzheimer’s and dementia. In a community like Magnolia Place at The Spires, residents enjoy the regular mental stimulation they need, while feeling safe in our comfortably appointed Memory Care neighborhood.

4. Food

Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet is key to overall wellness. Living at home, it can be easy for you or your loved ones to simply rely on familiar, easy-to-prepare meals, even if they’re not necessarily the healthiest options. Continuing care retirement communities like Magnolia Place at The Spires make it easy to eat right by offering residents high quality, nutritious meals on a regular schedule. If getting to and from the dining venues is an issue for you or your loved one, the food can be provided directly to them in their own residence.

5. Peace of Mind

When it comes to deciding whether or not it’s time to start thinking about life in a CCRC, few things are as valuable as the peace of mind you and your loved ones will find in a community like Magnolia Place at The Spires. Here, all advanced levels of care — Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Memory Care — along with opportunities for socialization, fresh, healthy meals and a compassionate, experienced staff you can trust are all under one roof. Residents not only enjoy access to care as it becomes needed, but they get it from familiar faces in an environment that feels like home.

This type of transition is a huge choice, so it’s imperative that all options are weighed and that everyone involved feels confident about the final decision. If you feel that you or your loved one is ready to explore senior living, contact Magnolia Place at The Spires by calling 706-368-9955, or schedule an appointment to visit our main campus in Rome, GA.

Amanda Reeves

Magnolia Place’s House Physician Program

The team at The Spires at Berry College thought of every detail to make life better for the residents who have chosen this community as their home. One detail that was not overlooked – outstanding primary medical care on campus.

Many of the residents who moved to The Spires came from outside the Rome area and found themselves needing to establish a new primary care physician.

“This was one of the biggest decisions we had to make when we moved to Rome,” said Brenda Layfield, Spires resident. “Leaving our physician was tough, but we were confident The Spires team would make this easy for us. Rome has no shortage of excellent medical care.”

The team at The Spires established a relationship with Floyd Medical Center and Dr. Amanda Reeves to help develop a house physician program at the community. When the community opened in June 1 to Independent Living residents, Dr. Amanda Reeves was introduced to the residents as an option to provide primary care services. As part of this relationship, residents could see Dr. Reeves in her office on Shorter Avenue, just 2 miles from The Spires community. Eventually as patient demand increases, Dr. Reeves will establish hours where she will come to see residents in their own homes at The Spires or at the clinic in Magnolia Place.

Magnolia Place, the Healthcare Center for The Spires will open this fall and additional medical care providers will be introduced to the residents. Dr. Reeves will see patients in Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care, and her nurse practitioner, Linda Hoffman, will be able to see and treat patients as well.

“Being able to go to a resident who is living in Memory Care makes life much easier,” says Dr. Reeves. “Not having to interrupt someone’s routine with getting out and about in the community keeps residents much happier, particularly when there are memory concerns.”

For Magnolia Place’s Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation community, Dr. Greta Flaherty will serve as the Medical Director and will be available as the Primary Care doctor for the residents. She will be supported by Ashley Millican, Nurse Practitioner.

“Especially now with the concerns of COVID-19, we are pleased to have this partnership in place so our residents can be seen by their primary care physician in their own home,” said Nick Lancaster, Magnolia Place Administrator. “Not having to go outside of the community means that the residents are more likely to have their preventative healthcare needs met as opposed to waiting until a crisis comes up.”

Should a resident at The Spires have an acute care need, they can choose to go to either of the two major, local hospitals: Floyd Medical Center or Redmond Regional Medical Center.  And should the resident prefer, we can arrange EMS or nonemergency transport to these settings, so as to alleviate that burden.

Residents also have the ability to work with Functional Pathways, a therapist-owned organization with more than 25 years of experience in serving senior living communities.  They will be able to offer residents services to include Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and post-acute care, all in their two state-of-the-art rehabilitation gyms located on the first and second floor of Magnolia Place.  These services can be utilized as covered by the resident’s Medicare, Managed Medicare, private insurance, and/or supplemental policies.

“Our team has been working hard over the past year to provide solutions to any healthcare concern that our residents may have – whether that be today or tomorrow,” said Lancaster.  And it is this seamless continuum of care that supports The Spires’ goal of promoting wellness and health as a key to a fulfilling life.

For more information about Magnolia Place or the healthcare programs at The Spires, please visit or call (706) 368-9955.

Entry Fee Tax Deductions Explained

COVID-19 Concerns: Your Questions. Our Answers.

Magnolia Place at The Spires is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing & rehabilitation residents, their families and our team members. We understand that the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has added a new level of concern for those considering life in a Continuing Care Retirement Community like ours. As we navigate this new normal, we will continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations and guidance from our local public health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Still, we know that questions may be racing through your mind when thinking about this important decision. That’s why we asked our team of experts to answer some of the most pressing questions about how The Spires is handling COVID-19, and how those efforts will continue when Magnolia Place opens this fall. We hope the answers below provide clarity. If you have any other questions after reading this, contact us to learn more.

What are the safety measures that will be taken once Magnolia Place opens to ensure residents are safe?

Significant safety measures have already been taken to protect both our residents and our team members, as well as any guests on campus at The Spires, and will be implemented immediately once Magnolia Place opens. These include:

    • Mandatory social distancing in public areas
    • Mandatory facial coverings required in public areas
    • Mandatory regular COVID-19 testing for all team members, and testing for residents
    • Required temperature and oxygen level checks for all residents, team members and outside guests 
    • Proper hand washing and sanitation encouraged throughout the day for all residents, team members and outside guests
    • Frequent sanitizing of common areas throughout the day
    • Virtual tours encouraged in lieu of in-person visits

How successful have these new safety measures been thus far?

Here at The Spires, everyone has embraced the new guidelines and adapted well to the necessary changes in safety measures. Of course, some questions and concerns are to be expected as residents, their families and our team members continue to adjust their daily routines and modify the way they socialize and interact with others. However, we have made it a priority to listen to every individual’s fears and concerns, and have been able to adequately address all expressed feedback with compassion and understanding. And the operations of Magnolia Place will be managed by Greenbrier Senior Living, a national leader in the industry. This provides a unique synthesis of experience and insight as we are in regular communication with leadership teams at many well respected senior living and care communities across the country. Weekly calls among all affiliated communities allow us to share ideas and challenges in real-time, and offers a unique perspective on which safety methods are proving most successful.

What is your plan if someone at Magnolia Place tests positive for COVID-19?

Because many of our residents within our Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing neighborhoods will be at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19, we have specific plans in place that are congruent with CDC guidelines and recommendations, should a positive COVID-19 case be reported in our community. These plans include measures to isolate any resident that tests positive and utilize Infection Prevention and Control practices to prevent a spread of the virus. We will also utilize successful mechanisms to regularly communicate with personnel, residents, and any family members specified by the resident, if a case of COVID-19 is identified.

How will you ensure that the staff are following all precautions?

While Magnolia Place will be a new addition to The Spires at Berry College, the current management team at Magnolia Place boasts over 150 years of experience. They have a fundamental understanding of community living during this time and have the expert knowledge to ensure the highest levels of quality and safety. 

Before any team member reports to work, a negative COVID-19 test will be required. We will conduct random audits to monitor the proper application and removal of all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Virtual and physical walk-throughs of the community will also be conducted to ensure that signage is posted appropriately, masks are being worn and physical distancing guidelines are being followed. 

We also employ Berry College students in our community. Educating this younger age group on proper behavior during this time is paramount to the health and safety of our residents. These team members follow the same protocols and health procedures as the rest of our staff to ensure that we maintain the reputation for excellence that so many associate with Berry College.

Will I or my loved one really be safe in a community setting?

It is our highest priority to continue our focused efforts on maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents. Initial feelings of uncertainty regarding you or your loved one living in a community environment are understandable. However, it is important to note that the controlled nature and intentional functioning of our community has proven to foster the health and happiness of our residents– especially in these uncertain times. Our trust in this community is deep, and for several team members, very personal—currently, two of our team members’ parents live at The Spires.

Unlike at home, where outside factors offer unknown risks of infection, residents and their families can rest easy knowing there is a team dedicated to taking every precaution to keep them safe and well. Contact will be minimized and there will be few reasons to leave the community. Daily tasks like doctor’s visits can be conducted on site, so there’s no risk of infection while sitting in a waiting room. Groceries and medications can be delivered straight to the residences, rather than making trips to a grocery store or pharmacy. When friends and family are able to visit, they’ll be able to do so in beautiful outdoor spaces, allowing for privacy and comfort while still maintaining social distance from other residents and team members.

How do you plan to address feelings of loneliness and isolation among residents during this time?

Residents and their loved ones must know that they are not alone. Our residents will grow and thrive in our community, because while they may be physically distanced, they will never be socially isolated.Days at Magnolia Place at The Spires will be full of endless opportunities to partake in secure activities and discover new interests. Certain amenities like the salon, theater and outdoor areas with walking trails will be open for resident use, with proper safety precautions in place. Rest assured that we will go above and beyond to offer seniors the lifestyle they deserve while staying safe and healthy. Our goal is to get everyone in the community back to the best possible level of normalcy while still following all CDC guidelines.

What communication channels will be available for residents to stay in touch with family and loved ones?

Tech devices like iPads or other tablets will be readily available so residents can stay in touch with friends and family no matter where they are. Our residents and family members will also be able to access and use The Touchtown Community App.  This app encourages our residents to maintain autonomy and age successfully while remaining engaged within the community.  Residents use the app to access the calendar of activities and events, announcements, and dining details, while our residents’ families can use Touchtown’s suite of technology to become more connected and involved in the daily lives of their loved ones. Here, we will be physically distanced but not socially isolated.

We appreciate everyone working together to get through this uncertain time. We can assure you the residents who are currently living at The Spires have been delighted with their new homes and we are certain future residents at Magnolia Place will feel the same. If you have any other questions, please contact Magnolia Place at The Spires by calling 706-368-9955, or schedule an appointment to visit our main campus in Rome, GA.

Senior looking over balcony

A Neglected Part of Retirement Planning