How to find the right Senior Living Community

About 90% of older Americans say they’d like to age in place and stay in their current home as long as possible, but sometimes health and mobility concerns require a different type of living arrangement. What are the choices when it comes to senior living? How do you know which type is right for you? What should you look for in a senior living community and what should you ask when you visit one? If you have questions about Senior Living options, you’ll want to listen to episode 23 of Sage Aging!

my guest

My guest today is Lori LeGrand of Oasis Senior Advisors of Central Florida. Lori offers free personalized assistance to older adults in their families as they explore Senior Living options. Lori has 20 years of experience in the eldercare industry serves her well when it comes to living out Her mission to be a personal resource for families, friends, and anyone involved in a senior’s life. She was a joy to host and boy did she ever deliver on providing LOTS of great information!

Types of Senior Living?

Once the decision to make a change has been made, the next step is to choose which senior living option is right for you or your loved one. Senior living options are many, but the main ones:

  • Independent Living (IL)
  • Assisted Living (AL or ALF)
  • Memory Care (a type of ALF)
  • Skilled Nursing (SNF)

The ‘F’ in all of the abbreviations stands for ‘facility,” but most people refer to buildings as ‘communities’ instead). A Continuous Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers all levels of care on one property and allows residents to move through the continuum of care as needed.

What to look for

As you start your search, it is important to assess your needs as they are now and ask each provider how they might accommodate any changes over time. It also is important to examine your finances and ask about costs. When touring communities, use all five of your senses to observe the environment. Listen to episode 23 for guidance on this. Use this Questions to Ask Worksheet to compare communities.

***If reading is more your style, keep scrolling for a full transcript of the conversation.

resources and links mentioned

Thanks for listening!

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Episode 23 transcript

Closed Captioning


How to Choose a Senior Living Community

Recorded 8-28-2020


Lori Legrand – Oasis Senior Advisors



Polk ElderCare Guide

Liz Craven  00:04

This episode is brought to you by PolkElderCare Guide, your guide for all things senior care and resources. Available in both English and Spanish, you can find the guide and much more at

About this episode

Liz Craven  00:20

About 90% of older Americans say they’d like to age in place and stay in their current home as long as possible, but sometimes health and mobility concerns require a different type of living arrangement. What are the choices when it comes to senior living? How do you know which type is right for you? What should you look for in a senior living community and what should you ask when you visit? If you have questions about Senior Living options, you’re in the right place and this is the podcast episode for you.


Liz Craven  01:02

Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. The mission of Sage Aging is to help you connect to information and resources that will empower you to master the aging and caregiving journey. Weekly, I’ll bring you great conversations with industry professionals and others to shed some light on topics of aging and to empower you to take charge of your journey. So grab a cup of coffee, or maybe a cool glass of lemonade, and sit back and relax as we chat. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now, and let’s get started.


Liz Craven  01:39

Welcome to Episode 23. I’m so glad you’re here. You know, I think if given the choice, we would all prefer to stay in our own comfortable and familiar surroundings forever. And while that’s exactly the way things play out for many others face circumstances that require a different solution. For example, a person with mobility issues, or memory impairment or some other type of chronic illness, they might need assistance with activities of daily living. Or you might have an older adult who’s living alone, and doesn’t have a lot of social interaction that would also benefit from living in a senior living community. There are lots of great options when it comes to senior living communities. But how do you find the right type for you or your loved one? What specific things should you be looking for when you visit a community? And what questions should you ask? We’re going to answer all of those questions and more for you today?

Today’s Guest

Liz Craven  02:41

My guest today is Lori LeGrand of Oasis Senior Advisors of Central Florida. Lori offers free personalized assistance to older adults in their families as they explore Senior Living options. Lori has 20 years of experience in the eldercare industry serve her well when it comes to living out Her mission to be a personal resource for families, friends, and anyone involved in a senior’s life. All of Lori’s contact information and a link to her full bio, and her website will be in the show notes. So make sure you check that out. Welcome to the show, Lori, and thanks for joining me.


Lori LeGrand  03:19

Thanks, Liz for having me. I’m very excited to be here. And hopefully some of the knowledge I’ve learned through the years I can share with your audience.


Liz Craven  03:29

Well, I know that you have a great knowledge base, both from professional and personal experiences. So I thank you for being here.

When it’s time for a change

Liz Craven  03:37

And I know that this conversation is one that families are a little bit hesitant to have because who wants to tell mom or dad that you know we really think it’s time to make a change. It can be an emotional and overwhelming conversation and one that’s difficult to begin.


Lori LeGrand  03:57

Absolutely. This is not an option that a lot of people look to when they’re planning their future down the road and retirement, that they say, Oh, I’m going to live in an assisted living at some point in my life. Right?

What is ‘Senior Living?’

Liz Craven  04:11

Well, the desire is always to stay in your own home. But things have really changed over the years and senior living communities are not what they used to be. So why don’t we begin by defining ‘what is senior living’?


Lori LeGrand  04:28

Senior Living is communities that offer help as we age, you know, Liz by the year 2030, which is only 10 years away, 60 million baby boomers will be 65 and older. And as we age and have lived our life, we are going to need some help with our ADLs or activities of daily living. Senior Living is independent living. It is assisted living and it is memory care. Those are the three most popular options. Of course, you still have skilled nursing level for people who need a higher level of care. But mostly today, we’re going to talk about assisted living and memory care. Those of us who just need a little bit of help and time from other people to get us through the day, and to make sure we’re safe, secure, well-fed and not lonely.


Liz Craven  05:30

That’s a big deal. Boy, that not lonely part I think we can all relate to right now with COVID, can’t we?

Benefits of Assisted Living

Lori LeGrand  05:36

Absolutely. And you know, I’ve had a lot of people resistant to move into a community because of COVID. And honestly, our communities are the safest and best places for them. Yes, there is isolation because of COVID which means you can’t come in and out of the community and the resident has to be secured for 14 days to make sure they are not sick, but you have people in and out of your room, the community becomes your family. Once that 14-day wait period is over, you are interacting with all the residents and the staff. And you have different things going on in the community to keep you active to keep your mind focused on other things rather than, ‘oh my goodness, there’s this horrible disease out there.’


Liz Craven  06:30

So I agree with you that the benefits are immense with an assisted living community. What are some of the most creative things that you’ve seen when you’ve been touring some of the communities you visited?


Lori LeGrand  06:42

They are holding parades, they have parties, they are dancing. We are very interactive in our communities. They do travel logs, virtual travel is amazing today. We are now able to Go and tour places that have been off limits to a lot of individuals because of COVID. Well, now they’re opening up their doors, these museums and World Heritage Sites. And we build an entire activity around that. And it offers the opportunity for our loved ones, our residents to participate and talk and share about what they’ve seen and done. One of the best things that is happening in our communities is special food days. Almost every day of the week has something that they celebrate, be at Pizza, root, beer floats, ice cream sundaes. Of course, the sweets are always really popular, but our communities are celebrating that inside the community. So you definitely don’t go hungry or without an activity to participate in. It’s not all just Bingo.


Liz Craven  08:00

That’s really great. I’ve actually been to some really incredible parties at the assisted living where my father in law recited. It was fun. We did luaus, and we did 50s dance days and live music and all kinds of fun all the time. And of course, just like in your own home, it’s not fun 100% of the time, there are days when you don’t feel well or when you’re just having a bad day. And I think that the benefit is having that community around you to notice that. I know that the activities director used to watch my father in law and if he didn’t come down for activities they knew to check and see how are you doing today and and what can we do to help you and that was a really nice thing for him, because he did have Alzheimer’s and as his dementia progressed, he needed more attention and they were so in tune with him and knew him so well, that they knew when it was time to walk up to his room, and and knock on the door and take him for a walk. And that was a really nice thing.


Lori LeGrand  09:05

It is a nice thing. You know, another thing that happens in our communities is you get a lot more one on one time. Sometimes our elderly people don’t always want to be a participant in every activity, so it’s important that our caregivers are in there talking with them, one on one, and that’s what you get in a community. Assisted Living is the most popular senior living in the United States. There are over 38,000 assisted living communities in the US, and 37% of our residents require assistance with three or more activities of daily living. Those include things like dressing, showers, toileting, some need help with food via just a better diet or actually having their food cut out. Having a texture that they can tolerate. So assisted living has really come a long way and so has senior living.


Liz Craven  10:11

I agree. I think that a lot of people tend to think of an assisted living community as the old school nursing homes. I mean, even the nursing homes now are not like the nursing homes that once were. But assisted living communities are very home-oriented. They have a homey feel. They have living rooms where people can gather and enjoy music together or enjoy a game of Yahtzee or cards or anything that they enjoy doing. They do lots of activities that are craft-oriented or gardening, going out on field trips to restaurants and on walks and so they are home and they look like homes. Some of them actually look like resorts and are pretty nice places to be.


Lori LeGrand  10:59

Absolutely, who wouldn’t like to be able to take a dip in the pool every day and know that you’re safe doing it, somebody is there to watch out for you. And I’ve seen some Wii bowling competitors that they will kick your butt. This is a competitive game. And they have a lot of fun.


Liz Craven  11:21

And I think it’s a great segway for a person who really isn’t in need of 100% care, but they need a little bit of assistance or they’re feeling the social isolation in a big way. This is a great way for people to take care of that.

Memory Care

Liz Craven  11:38

So as somebody is looking, there are different types of assisted living in the sense that we have memory care communities and just your regular assisted living communities. Can you tell us a little bit about memory care?


Lori LeGrand  11:53

Yes, I can. Memory care is a specialized living community. They are trained to communicate and provide safekeeping for residents who might have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. One of the big differences between a memory care community and an assisted living is the community is it is locked. Now, you can always get in and out, but the resident cannot wander outside, they are in a safe environment. And that’s the major difference between the communities. Also, the activities are focused for an Alzheimer’s dementia patient. We tend to look at these people as ‘Why don’t you remember that? We just talked about this, you know, quit asking me the same question over and over again.’ And it gets frustrating. In a memory care unit, the employees are trying How to speak to your loved one. They don’t mind the repetitive questions, they don’t mind saying, ‘No, we’re going to go here.’ Now, they have learned how to redirect a resident so that they’re getting the best quality of care. They’re not anxious. They’re not scared, and they’re not agitated. Now, there’s always somebody who’s going to be upset, but they’re trained in this. They know how to actually interact and redirect. They don’t spend a lot of time alone. Most of the units you’re not allowed to stay in your room. You are to come out and be in a community room where there are a lot of different things going on. Plus, all of them have a courtyard so that they can go inside and out. They’re not just stuck inside, but they have a courtyard that’s safe for them. There are eyes on them all the time, and I’m not talking about monitors, I’m talking about physical people being there. You usually have more caregivers in a Memory Care Unit than you do in an assisted living community. That’s very important. You want that ratio to be low. More caregivers, less patients. It allows for one on one care. You know, something that I have always used is ‘join the journey.’ I think it’s really important for our Alzheimer’s people in our dementia loved ones that we join their journey. They don’t remember that they’re 82 years old. And Liz, I’m sure you saw this with your father in law, they think of themselves as a healthy 36-year-old man, and they are looking for their wives, their husbands, their mothers, their fathers. They don’t remember that they may have passed a long time ago. Well, we join their journey. We’re not going to send them back into a grieving mode. We’re going to talk about ‘what did you do when you were with your mom and dad? Oh, I bet your husband is at work today. Did you take care of the kids? Are they at school?’ You know, we’re trained for that, to join their journey. We have to be sensitive to that. And it’s easier for a caregiver who is there for eight hours a day. They get to go home and refresh themselves and take a break and they can come back at their next shift level. And okay, Miss Betty, we’re all good again. today. I’ll answer the same questions. I’ve got a smile on my face. I’m not frustrated because I’ve had relaxation after my shift. Whereas if we’re caring for an Alzheimer’s or dementia In our home, we don’t get a break.


Liz Craven  16:03

You know, it’s really important for the safety of your loved one, if you are caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Obviously there are some families who can handle that at home. In my situation, when it came to that point where memory care was necessary for my father in law, we ended up bringing him home and utilizing home care and for our family, because we work from home and we’re here all of the time (we are business owners and so we were able to structure our days how we needed to) that worked for us. But many families don’t have that option. And what I hope to accomplish is that people can release some of the fear that they have associated with making a placement of the loved one into assisted living or memory care or nursing care, if that’s what they need. I think that it’s important for people to be able to feel solid and feel confident in the choices they’re making. And given what people’s misconceptions are, I hope today that they can see that it’s not what it once was. I hope it encourages people to get out and go visit and go take a look at some places that might serve their families well.

What to look for in a community

Liz Craven  17:25

So that kind of brings me to my next question. And that is, when you go to visit a community, whether that be an assisted living, memory care or nursing home, independent living, any type of community you might be visiting, what are some of the things that you should be looking for?


Lori LeGrand  17:47

Number one, if you’re doing this on your own, when you walk into the community, you want to make sure you’re greeted right away, that somebody is looking out for you and that they’re friendly. Not just walking by ignoring you. Also, you want to take a good sniff. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into community and smelled lunch. And it smells good. And those kinds of experiences, you know, we are sensory people, our senses tell us a lot. When you walk in anywhere, what you smell, what you hear, even the taste buds that go through the filter through as you’re smelling, that tells us so many things. So you want to make sure that the sniff test passes. And don’t assume if somebody has just had an accident that that’s the way it’s always going to smell. As you tour the community sniff you’re going to learn a lot about how they clean. When you’re there, of course, you’re going to meet with the marketing person and probably be introduced to the executive director, the person who In charge of the building. They are very important people. However, as you tour the community, you want to see aids, certified nursing assistants, home health aides. You need to find people who are busy in the community with the residents. And they need to be friendly. Listen for what they’re saying to people. There should be a housekeeper around the area. Cleaning is extremely important. So you might meet the housekeeping crew to or the maintenance man. He’s an important feature also that, when I’m placing somebody and it’s a gentleman, I always seek out the maintenance man. They seem to be able to talk ‘man,’ and that’s important for our male residents. And last, but definitely not least, you want to seek out the activities director and ask for a calendar that is a schedule of events that are going on throughout the entire day. What kind of outings are they doing? What kinds of activities are going on in the building? Now, bingo is still very important in our communities. In fact, my husband and I, over the last year have taken up playing Bingo. We love it. It is important, but it shouldn’t be the only activity on the calendar. You want to have speakers coming in. You want to be seeing travel tours, you want all these things going on. So your activities director is very important. And again, friendly, friendly, friendly. I usually recommend when I take someone to a community, I usually do it over a lunchtime period so that they can taste the food and see how the community is interacting in the dining room. I have yet to meet an employee who has lost weight at an assisted living Independent Living or Memory Care Unit, the food is that good.


Liz Craven  21:04

It is really good. The desserts are always out of this world.


Lori LeGrand  21:09

Oh yes. And you know what, it’s not institutionalized cooking anymore. These are fresh meals, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, they are utilizing different recipes and they may even ask your loved one. What did you like to make or eat and they will try to find a recipe and make it for the whole community to try foods that are regional to you.


Liz Craven  21:36

My father in law was an oatmeal every morning kind of person he wanted his oatmeal, cooked a certain way wanted raisins on top and a little sprinkle of cinnamon and every single morning they personalized his breakfast for him and allowed him to have what he wanted and I just thought that was wonderful. Where he lived, they even asked before he moved in if there any special types of foods that he likes to have? Then we’ll make sure we always have it in the kitchen. And that is the kind of personalized service that you get when living in most assisted living communities. So that’s a pretty cool thing.


Lori LeGrand  22:15

Yes, it is. And they do that in memory care to the loved one might not be able to tell you but a family member can.

Questions to Ask Worksheet

Liz Craven  22:23

Well, you know, I want to take a moment to lead our listeners to a Questions to Ask Worksheet. So if you were listening from the beginning of the program, you heard us mention that this episode is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide, which happens to be a senior resource guide that is published by my husband and myself. And in this guide, we have multi-page questions to ask worksheet that will assist you when you’re visiting any assisted living community to help you evaluate and choose which option is right for you. So I’m going to leave a link to that in the show notes. And you’ll also find it in the blog post that will accompany this episode. So you would find that at and look for the blog post for Episode 23. That resource will be there and any other resources that we mentioned throughout the episode you’ll find there as well. So just wanted to mention that


Lori LeGrand  23:23

And I want to thank you Liz, because that booklet has helped me in my business so much. It has been great. I advertised in there, so look for me, but it has helped me a lot too. And you know, we talked about going in and looking at a community. That no longer works. In the age of COVID you can no longer go in and tour communities. That’s why someone like me, is very important to you because I have been in every community in Polk County. I have toward them. And you know, we drive by and we think, Oh, that’s a nice place, or that’s this or whatever. not always the case. One of the nice things about speaking with someone who has been in so many communities is we match personality to community. When we sit down and talk with a family, we talk about what do families need? One of the most important things is location. You don’t want to drive 40 miles out of the way to go visit mom and dad. So we look at that, how can we get them close enough to you? Second, financial, how are we going to pay for this? Can I afford this community? Growing up my dad always used to say buy the very best that you can afford. You don’t want to overspend but you want the best that you can afford.


Lori LeGrand  25:01

Next is support. One of the things that I do is I actually tour with my clients. I find it’s very important, they might forget to ask a question. They might not notice something that I noticed that I can point out to them. I may have heard in our conversation that dad likes to play cards. So, hey, I’m looking at that activities calendar and I’m looking around the community. Oh, look, they have a bridge table set up here. Oh, they have Poker Night. Whatever the interest is. I’m looking for that while I tour with you. Also in support, you want to make sure that they’re having different things that are needed such as does hospice come in and out? Are they having church services non denominational. If you are Catholic, are they offering you communion? It’s very overwhelming. While you’re touring it’s hard to think of all these answers, but that’s something I am picking up on and aware of, and will check out for you to make sure they’re there.


Lori LeGrand  26:09

Last but not least, is care needs. Can this community provide the care that I need for my loved one? We talked about memory care units. Not every person who has dementia or Alzheimer’s needs memory care right away. A lot of them thrive in assisted living because they’re engaged. Their minds are engaged. Their bodies are engaged, and they do very well in assisted living. You know, Liz, we talked about ADLs activities of daily living, and that reaches into shower assistance, toileting assistance, dining assistance, sometimes we have a specialized diet if you’re a diabetic, or if you’ve had a stroke no longer can cut your food? Are they willing to do that? Is that something that is done in the community for you? Dressing, again, going back to like a stroke patient or somebody with memory loss, they tend to not be able to dress by themselves or they layer clothing. We’re going to look out for that we want to make sure that caregivers are watching for that. They’re meeting the care needs, not only physically, but socially to.

Tips for starting the conversation

Liz Craven  27:27

Well, I think that assisted living is a great option for a lot of people. And I think that if more people would explore it, they would find it would ease a lot of their worry, specifically for people who live far away from their parents, but it’s a difficult conversation to approach with your loved ones. I bet you’ve seen a lot of that right in front of your eyes when you’re working with families having that conversation for the first time. What advice do you have for someone who needs to broach the topic with their loved ones?


Lori LeGrandn 28:00

Well, first of all, plan ahead. Plan for yourself and have this conversation in a calm setting. Maybe have somebody there with you to give you support. And you start talking about what is going on. ‘You know what, I noticed that you’re only eating junk food. That’s not very healthy for you.’ Another thing is, ‘you know, Dad, I noticed you’re not very secure in the shower, are you not taking baths anymore?’ Or ‘Mom, why are you layering your clothes or your perfume is really strong.’ So yes, you have to have these conversations. And remember, the lack of socialization leads to depression and isolation, which is tragic for people. They need to have that social interaction. Also, I always tell my family members, look at the comparison for what you are paying out to what you are going to get in an assisted or independent or memory care community. Look at this, you don’t have to pay for a car, car insurance, home insurance, maintenance, any of that your food bill is taken care of. Now, I do have to say something to that. Every apartment does have a little refrigerator in there. So you can still have some of your goodies and snacks. No problem with that. So that’s not a worry. But you know, we need to be parent and child. And it’s very difficult when the child becomes the parent. We don’t want to be a burden to our families. Well, okay, you’re no longer a burden. You are still active. And I can speak from experience. A lot of residents once they get past that little hump and move in, they are part of the community. They relax and they thrive. I’ve seen so many people take a step back when they move, especially when they’re suffering from different forms of dementia and that, but once they get acclimated, they thrive. One of the things that we touched upon earlier was food. So many elderly people are not eating a healthy diet, and our diet gives us life. So if you’re eating a better diet, how much healthier are you?


Liz Craven  30:29

Well, that allows for more movement, more engagement, more exercise, which also will affect how you feel mentally, because like you mentioned, isolation leads to depression, but we know that endorphins make us feel happier. And so the more we move and the more engaged we are our mental health and mental stability are better.


Lori LeGrand  30:52

Absolutely. I just want to touch a little bit on independent living, which is living in a community with other people your own age. One of the nice things and I hear this quite often from some of my clients who are looking for independent living. ‘I am so sick of cooking. I am so sick of cleaning.’ Well, all that’s done for you. And I can sympathize with that. I had a family of four. And I always make too much food, always. And so I love to eat out. Well, that adds up a lot. But I love the variety and everything else. And I enjoy somebody else cooking for me and cleaning up. That happens every day in independent living and assisted living and memory care. These are things that we don’t actually think about. If you have heart problems, it’s very difficult to sweep or vacuum. Well, that’s done for you in these communities. My mother loved that.

Lori’s Personal Experience

Liz Craven  31:57

So did your parents live in assisted living?


Lori LeGrand  32:01

My family is from a small town in Wisconsin. So there’s not a lot of assisted livings and the wait for them is very long. What happened was, my mom’s heart was really bad. We were told she only had 10 days to live. Well, of course, mom lived longer than the 10 days. And when we got home, we brought in hospice care. But then we realized that mom just wasn’t doing well at all and she needed to go to a hospice community. My mom had to stay there, and basically rest. Very hard for us to understand. My mom was always an active woman. She just wanted to, and needed to, stay in bed. So as a family that depressed us, but my mom started to thrive. In the meantime, my dad was home and my sisters would check him and we recall and everything else. My dad is 11 years older than my mom and he fell and wouldn’t call anybody. My sister had an idea that you know what we better go check to make sure we turned off the water and they found my dad with a broken hip. So after surgery, dad actually said to us, ‘you know, it’s probably not very safe living at home alone.’ So after rehab, he stayed at the skilled nursing community because he was a WWII veteran. We got aid for him, and he didn’t have a lot of assets or money or anything. But this worked out to be a great solution. In the meantime, my mom is still at the hospice house. After a year, my mom moved into the skilled nursing community with my dad


Liz Craven  33:59

That’s amazing.


Lori LeGrand  34:01

Yeah, they were able to spend their 65th wedding anniversary together. That was in November. And then in January, my father passed away. But my mom now lives at the skilled nursing community.


Liz Craven  34:17

That’s incredible. The fact that she came out of hospice and was able to spend time with your dad and still is there. That’s just amazing.


Lori LeGrand  34:27

My mom needed rest. And this hospice house gave her time for that. And this is what hospice provided. You know, a lot of people think Hospice is end of life. Hospice is so much more. My mom needed time to rest and she was able to do that she was waited on for the first time in her life. And so it was a good thing. Assisted Living, memory care, independent living, skilled nursing was not a goal for my family. Family and we were never going to do that to our mother and father. But it turned out to be the best situation for all of us.


Liz Craven  35:10

That’s really great. Thank you for sharing that personal experience.


Lori LeGrand  35:14

Yes, my mother is still going strong. She is 88 right now.


Liz Craven  35:20

Wow. That’s wonderful. I’m so happy for her and for your family that you have all of that extra time with her when you thought it was going to be over much sooner. Let me ask you, do you have favorite resources that you like to direct people to that you’re working with?

Lori’s favorite resources

Lori LeGrand  35:39

Well, Polk ElderCare Guide. That has been my little, my little Bible myself, and through that, I have been able to be introduced to some great elder law attorneys. Some great advocates for health care. Also, the Benefits. One of the things that happens is, especially for women, who do not realize that they are eligible for VA benefits. And that can provide some extra money for care. Any of the insurance policies, VA benefits are Medicare, they pay for levels of care or your ADLs, but you are still responsible for the actual rent of a community. So by meeting with elder law attorneys, you know, I have garnered a lot of great information. Same with financial advisors. Hey, if you are a baby boomer, or a little younger, start checking that out, invest in your future. These people are out there to help you. Not only pay when you need it but to protect your assets. sets so that you do have a future. We’re living much longer than we used to. I can remember when somebody was introduced to me and they were 60. It was Mr. And Mrs. Johnson, you never call them by their first name, and they look like grandmas and grandpas. I pride myself on being a grandma, age 58. And looking pretty good for an old lady.


Liz Craven  37:24

You do look pretty good.


Lori LeGrand  37:27

Thank you, but our seniors are there too.


Liz Craven  37:31

And, you know, it’s not uncommon anymore for people to be working into their 70s, so the demographic itself has definitely changed over time. What is that saying? 60 is the new 30. I don’t know about that. But maybe maybe 50 is the new 30.


Lori LeGrand  37:51

But our communities have to reflect that too. And they do. It’s amazing some of the things that go on out there and in our community. To see how active they actually are. So it’s a good thing.


Liz Craven  38:05

Yes, it is a good thing. What is your favorite website?


Lori LeGrand  38:10

Well, unfortunately, or fortunately, I rely a lot on the Alzheimer’s organization. It is a disease, a process that we don’t know enough about. So we are looking constantly at what’s new out there for treatments. What about medicines? Is there any breakthrough in that? How do we cope with some of the things that my loved one is doing? Is there support out there? the Alzheimer’s Association is amazing and their website, they offer so many resources. I end up going there a lot just so I can learn. So that I know how to guide my clients. One of the best educators that I feel is out there is Miss Teepa Snow.


Liz Craven  39:01

Oh yes,


Lori LeGrand  39:03

She is one of the most invaluable resources in my back pocket. I have had the honor of seeing her live and listening to her conversations on how to deal with memory care. Fantastic. So I utilize Teepa Snow a lot. I have to say and I’m going to do a shameless plug here. Oasis senior advisors, we pride ourselves. On our knowledge. We are certified senior advisors. I actually took classes and had to pass tests so that I could become certified as a senior advisor. And so it touched on a lot of areas, but I have fabulous research and wealth of information from my fellow franchisee owners. Oasis senior advisors is nationwide We have franchisees men and women out there who are constantly looking at what’s available for our seniors. They have written books, we write articles, we share our information everywhere. And when we share our information and do talks, we share that not only with our franchisees but with our clients. Sometimes we look at the web and we go, oh, let’s read the reviews. And if somebody had a bad day or a bad experience, let me tell you, that’s all that they talk about. But being that I have been in those communities and Liz, you have to you’ve heard the good, the bad and the ugly. And it’s important for us to be able to look at situations and say, it might have been that way. But let me tell you something they have changed. All the staffing are they’re owned by a new member or they’ve been educated in the training. There is The nominal the building’s brand new. Yes, it is brand new, but they don’t have the training sometimes that some of our older buildings do. And just because it’s an older building doesn’t mean it’s a bad building.


Liz Craven  41:14

You definitely have to look at each community for its total personality. So does it have the aesthetics that you like, maybe that’s important to you is the service that you’re going to receive inside, good quality services, the staff trained and all those things you mentioned before. So that’s all really great advice. And I thank you so much for being here today to share with me. Now, where can people contact you if they’d like to get in touch.


Lori LeGrand  41:42

You can reach me by phone, by text or by email. And my phone number is 863-333-2626. My email is If you are not able to pay for in-home care or assisted living, we do have a wonderful waiver program through Medicaid here. I don’t mind answering those questions either. And my services are always free to the family member. In full disclosure, I do get paid, but I get paid by the community if and when you move in. If it’s a big question, I’m not here to sell you on anything. You know Liz, when this opportunity came for me, I had no desire to own my own business. In fact, the thought of it scared me. But a verse came to me that said for such a time as this, my whole life I have been preparing for such a time as this. And if I can give back to people just a little bit of the knowledge that I have and to help them I am Blessed through and through.


Liz Craven  43:02

And I think we are too for having had you as a guest today. So thank you so much, Lori, I appreciate you.


Lori LeGrand  43:09

Thank you, Liz. I appreciate that.


Liz Craven  43:12

And thank all of you for listening. I appreciate you taking some time out of your day to spend with us. I hope that it was valuable for you. And as you know, we publish a new episode every Tuesday morning. Next week, we’ll be chatting with Kari Gomez of Home Instead Senior Care, and Kari is going to share her top 10 tips for successful caregiving. So you don’t want to miss that. If you found value in today’s conversation, I’d really appreciate it if you would click Subscribe now and share the sage aging podcast with a friend. If you have topic ideas, or you’d like to share a suggestion for a guest drop me a line at Thanks everyone and make it a great day.

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.