Posted by: retireinatlanta | November 30, 2011

Peachtree Hills, a Lifelong Community

As recently featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Lifelong Communities initiative is focused on creating communities that promote healthy living for all ages.  Lifelong Communities have more housing options, greater access to health services, expanded transportation options and community designs that promote healthy living. The Peachtree Hills neighborhood was recently selected as a Lifelong Communities case study by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for the many benefits it already offers area residents as well as the potential enhancement of housing options, lifestyle choices and health services that Peachtree Hills Place can provide for this community. Isakson Living has been very active in support of the ARC effort.

In August the Peachtree Hills neighborhood conducted a community assessment to see how it stacked up.  A few areas of note that received high marks were:

  • Mobility and Accessibility
  • Overall Housing Choices (Peachtree Hills Placeis of course a part of the community.)
  • Opportunities for Social Interaction
  • Access to Services in the Area

A copy of the survey can be found at our web site or at as well as the article which ran Nov. 4 – 10 in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Posted by: retireinatlanta | October 14, 2009

Aging in Place: Whole Person Wellness and the Six Areas of Wellness

By:  Lisa Kiely

In July of 2004, shortly after coming to Park Springs Continuing Care Retirement Community in Stone Mountain, Ga. our executive staff set out to implement a program that would later be known in our community as the Six Areas of Wellness. Although it is not a new concept, I wanted to help redefine what this term meant. To do so, we asked our Members to take a survey about wellness and what the word “wellness” meant to them. We quickly learned that our definition was not exactly the same as theirs. The answers from the survey allowed us to readjust our objectives and to appreciate the concerns of our Members.

In creating our Six Areas of Wellness, our goal was to create an environment that would allow our Members to live an independent lifestyle as long as their health would allow. To do so, we made it a priority to offer educational, recreational and cultural programs that focused on a variety of aspects. Currently we have over 50 activities planned each month and 108 special interest groups on site. Our vision has always been to create an environment that promotes wellness and personal growth by including the following Six Areas of Wellness:

Occupational, Physical, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Psychological.

Occupational Wellness involves preparing and making use of ones skills and talents. Because we offer numerous events and activities we have the ability to help move Members from casual to connected relationship. A casual Member might attend a few events, but often does not engage with any of our other Members. When I see this type of behavior, I will try to “connect” with that Member by inviting him/her to one of our events. A personal invitation allows that Member to not only feel special, but it also obligates them to follow through on my invitation. Once I have been able to connect with him/her, that Member will often times become what we like to call a “committed member”

Physical Wellness is necessary not only for our Members physical well being, but their mental well being as well. A proper diet also allows our Members to maintain the strength and determination they need to carry out daily objectives. Recently, our community participated in the DeKalb County Senior Olympics and took home a few medals. Staying fit and active allows Members to participate in something meaningful, which in turn raises their self-esteem and keeps them involved in mind, body and spirit.

Social Wellness is necessary for a full and complete life. Relationships play an important part of who we are and how we feel.  They also provide us with a support system during tough times and a place to express joy in times of happiness.  Social Wellness involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive intimate relationships as well as fostering a general connection with everyone around you.  It’s also about learning how to balance your social life with your personal life. Throughout the year we hold numerous social activities and we have found that our members at times like doing things out of the ordinary or things that may be unexpected. Daily routines are important, but it is also important that our Members get out of the community from time to time to enjoy everything that life offers.

Intellectual Wellness concerns our Members ability to think, organize, learn and remember. We offer numerous activities in our community that challenge our members to keep learning. Recently, we had close to 10 Members sign up to continue their education at a local college. Keeping a sound mind by participating in activities such as bingo, bridge, language studies, bible study and painting allows our Members to engage with their peers in activities that they enjoy.

Psychological Wellness is the ability to feel and express emotions such as happiness, anger and sadness. It is one of the key components of anyone’s overall well-being and allows our Members a way to manage their stress while maintaining their self esteem. By participating and interacting our Members are able to keep balance in mind, body and spirit.

About the Author

 Lisa Kiely is Leisure Services Director for Peachtree Hills Place’s partner community, Isakson Living’s Park Springs, an Atlanta Continuing Care Retirement Community in Stone Mountain. Kiely has been with Park Springs for four years; in her current position there she oversees activities for over 650 members in independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care.

Prior to joining Park Springs, Kiely was Activities Director for four years with Lake Forest Good Samaritan Village and Wellness Director with the YMCA for ten years. Kiely is a Community Life Services Resource Consultant for Life Care Services, one of the nation’s leading senior community management companies. In addition, Kiely teaches exercise classes at the YMCA, trains instructors for the YMCA and hosts wellness clinics and seminars. A graduate of Texas Woman’s University, Kiely is a Certified Activities Director, Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer and has taught aerobics since the early 80’s.

Posted by: retireinatlanta | September 18, 2009

Why seniors live longer, healthier lifestyles in community settings

By Dr. Margaret White

Recent research provided by Duke University tells us that seniors are living healthier in mind and body as they age. They are also living longer. According to US Census Bureau, the projected population in 2050 for those 65 and older is estimated to be 88.5 million. That number is staggering considering that seniors 65 and older would comprise 20 percent off the population. Seniors currently 65 and older make up 13 percent (37.9 million) of the population. 

Although we know that seniors are living longer and more fulfilled lives, the question becomes why are they living longer more sustainable lives? The answer to that question might not be what you expect.

For many seniors, basic decisions made on a daily basis now require more and more time and eventually become overwhelming or impossible due to medical conditions. For example, maintaining one’s homes, health, and bills…activities many seniors considered basic chores…become problematic.

So it comes as no surprise that we are seeing more and more seniors deciding to move to Atlanta retirement communities and Atlanta continuing care retirement communities to help alleviate unneeded and unwanted stress. Not only are they finding that they no longer have to go through the process of making stressful decisions, they are also adding years on to their life. Research tells us that seniors that choose to move into retirement communities or CCRC’s are living longer because of the ability to interact and socialize with other residents. They also no longer have to worry about daily stresses such as doctor’s appointments, which are now taken care of by staff geriatricians, nurses etc…

Doctors have known for years, but more and more people are coming to realize that those who have regular contact with others generally live happier and longer lives than those who do not. Not only does staying involved with other people help stave off loneliness and health issues such as headaches, heart disease, ulcers and diabetes, it also keeps their minds active and alert. While we know that staying active and alert is necessary for seniors, we are also now seeing a direct correlation with seniors living longer because of it.

Activities seniors can participate in to keep an active mind and body include:

  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Playing Scrabble or doing crossword puzzles
  • Interacting with others
  • Switching careers or starting a new one
  • Starting a new hobby, such as crafts, painting, biking or bird-watching
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Volunteering
  • Staying informed about what’s going on in the world
  • Reading

Activities for residents at Park Springs include:

  • Swimming
  • Card games
  • Petanque
  • Yoga
  • Artist workshops
  • Line Dancing

About the Author

Dr.Margaret White, a Board-certified internal and geriatric medicine specialist is the Medical Director at Peachtree Hills Place’s partner community, Park Springs CCRC in Stone Mountain, Ga.  She received her medical doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed both her residency in internal medicine and fellowship in geriatrics at the University of Tennessee. From 1992 to 2004, she was assistant professor of internal medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, where she also served as clinician, teacher and supervisor of internal medicine residents and geriatric fellows. She held additional teaching and supervisory responsibilities for medical students and nurse practitioners at the Emory Clinic of the Wesley Woods Geriatric Center. At Park Springs CCRC, White oversees medical and quality assurance programs for all temporary and long-term care services offered on campus. Services provided include home health care and assisted living, as well as Alzheimer’s/dementia care and skilled nursing services at Cobblestone, where members receive professional and compassionate nursing care 24-hours a day.

Posted by: retireinatlanta | July 9, 2009

Members Share Reasons for Joining Peachtree Hills Place

Mickey Webb can’t say exactly what drew her to join Peachtree Hills Place in 2007. Honestly, she says, there is not enough time. Her initial reason for looking at the continuing care retirement community was fueled by watching her mother battle Alzheimer’s disease.

“I saw what happened to mother and I knew I didn’t want to be in a facility like so many I have seen,” said Webb. “When I saw Peachtree Hills Place, it just appealed to me. When you get to my age, you start wondering about the future and you know you will need help one way or another.”

An entertainer at heart, who loves to play around in the garden, Webb said she looks forward to spending time in the Peachtree Hills Place garden and greenhouse. She also plans to continue to entertain.

“The amenities at Peachtree Hills are wonderful,” said Webb. “They have numerous types of restaurants, exercise facilities and an inside pool. If I need to have food delivered to my home, they can do that too.”

During her initial search to find the perfect senior retirement housing to spend her glory years, Webb says that she was blown away not only by the conveniences that Peachtree Hills will offer including an on-site bank, various shops and medical facilities, but also by the fact that she will have more space and will pay less.

“When I did the math, I saw that my expenses at Peachtree Hills Place will be less than at my current home,” she said. “I will also have more space and more room. Right now I have four bedrooms upstairs in my home, but I never go up there. At Peachtree Hills Place, I will have an extra den and a keeping room off of the kitchen that I will be able to use.”

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Peachtree Hills Place is the amount of Members from Webb’s high school that will be her new neighbors.

“I went to high school at Washington Seminary (The Westminster Schools) with half of the people that have signed up,” she said. “It is nice to know the people that will be my neighbors.”

And for those that she doesn’t already know, Peachtree Hills Place holds numerous gatherings during the year in order for Members of the senior retirement housing community to get to know one another.

Webb is not alone. Many seniors are looking towards Atlanta Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) for a number of reasons. Libby Fennel, a transplant from New England, began her search more than 10 years ago with her husband, Jud. The couple was drawn to Peachtree Hills Place because of the top-notch medical care it offers.

“Everything there is just done so well,” she said. “As we get older we don’t get out as much. The concept of being able to socialize with friends was very appealing.”

Ms. Fennel, like Ms. Webb, both had an epiphany of sorts that helped make their decision to move to the Atlanta CCRC an easy one. While Ms. Webb watched her mother grow ill, Ms. Fennel saw her sister, who was determined to live at home her entire life; have to enter an Atlanta assisted living facility, which she recalls was quite grim.

“She could only go the assisted living route,” said Webb. “It was very tragic—she had to move to such a small space. For us seniors, moving to a senior retirement housing community is a hard decision, but it is one we have to make. This is the last place we will be.”

Emory Schwall, who recently reserved his spot at Peachtree Hills Place, said he is enthusiastic about what Peachtree Hills Place will offer. Schwall, a widower, said the decision to make the transition to a CCRC was done so because he did not want to create any problems for his children.

“I want to make my own decisions and this facility offers what I’ve been looking for,” said Schwall. “It’s the finest facility I have seen or that has been contemplated in Atlanta.”

ATLANTA – Have you ever wondered how you will maintain a healthy lifestyle and have your health care and long-term care needs met? What do you do about financial costs associated with you and your spouse’s future? Who do you turn to, as you get older to talk about these issues? A distinguished panel of health experts will discuss these questions and more at the Atlanta History Center from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on May 18, 2009. The discussion, “Behind the Headlines: Maintaining your Health and Managing the Cost,” will address health care policies and trends, maintaining well being, health risks and other topics of interest to the 60+ age group.

Discussion members include Ruthann Lacey, one of only five Certified Elder Law Attorneys in Georgia; Dr. Margaret White, Medical Director at Park Springs CCRC in Stone Mountain; Bill Benson, a former specialist in aging and health policy and current host of First Person, a weekly live interview program at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and Nancy Morrison, Program Director for Sixty Plus Older Adult Services at Piedmont Hospital. Joan Carlson, Vice President of Quality Innovation and Culture for Isakson Living, will moderate the discussion.

Hosted by Peachtree Hills Place, a residential community offering a continuum of care in Buckhead for people ages 55 and older, the event is the third and final installment in a three-part series addressing issues that directly affect this demographic. Attendance is free, but registration is required for the panel discussion, which will be held in the Woodruff Auditorium of the Atlanta History Center at 130 West Paces Ferry Road, April 18, 2009, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information or to register, visit or call 404-467-4900.

“Health care and long-term care should be easier as we age, not more difficult,” said E. Andrew (Andy) Isakson, managing partner of Isakson Living, developer of Peachtree Hills Place. “It also should not require continual compromises in your lifestyle. Our intention is for this panel to help raise topics that will ultimately help our attendees reach their dream retirement.”

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