Senior living boasts community, activities and help when it's needed - Albuquerque Journal

Senior living boasts community, activities and help when it’s needed

Our parents may be superheroes but they are not indestructible.

As our moms and pops age, the question of placing them in assisted living often comes into play.

“Your parents are the most important people in your life and it is essential that they are properly cared for,” said Shavanna Aragon, sales director at The Montebello. “For seniors, I would say that the friends, socialization and having the team here to support them is the biggest key for senior living.”

At Montebello, located at 10500 Academy Road NE, residents’ well-being and entertainment is essential to the staff’s work goals.

“We have independent and assisted living, but I think in both the biggest thing is community,” Aragon said. “Why you are moving out of your own home is for several different reasons as assisted living, yes, you might need a little bit of care and extra hands on, but community is super important.”

For those interested in the Assisted Living Neighborhood, that option focuses on enriching senior independence and wellness.

Montebello’s Assisted amenities include: five-star, restaurant-style dining including three daily meals and special diets available upon request; daily housekeeping and weekly laundry; assistance with medication and oxygen; and moderate assistance with dressing and bathing.

“We have a fantastic community with a resident council here, and there is around 25 people on it including the regular council,” Aragon said. “Then, we have representatives on every floor who help get new people integrated into the community so they don’t feel alone.”

Once integrated, there are a plethora of hobbies to dive into.

“They can be anywhere from Bible study, to happy hour and if somebody wants to go out and shop or get a group of individuals together and schedule a dinner outing, we can do that as well,” Aragon said. “So we try to cater to several different pillars of all of our personal aspects, whether it be our intellectual aspects, our physical aspects or fitness services we try and round that out throughout the week and have lots of things they can do.”

Place to retire

While there are a few drawbacks for seniors living in this area, there are also plenty of positives.

“There are a few small things that can impact seniors, but overall, Albuquerque is a really great place to retire for the most part,” Aragon said. “Our altitude can affect them, but once they get acclimated, it is really not that much of a problem if they get into fitness services.”

Though there are a few disadvantages, that does not stop the seniors from living their lives.

“If you want to just get involved in some light hiking, the mountain is just right there, and if you want to get involved in activities at the activity center, we have a huge department of senior affairs so people can get involved there,” Aragon said. “If somebody wants to volunteer, there is going to be volunteer opportunities and if somebody needs somebody to volunteer for them, there are people here to volunteer.”

For Aragon, active aging is at the top of the list as far as needs for seniors.

“I truly believe that active aging is the biggest necessity for seniors, and I put them in four categories,” Aragon said. “So you have the socialization aspect of it, the exercise and nutrition aspect of it, the mental stimulation aspect of it and then the spiritual side of it, whatever that looks like to you.”

Getting involved within the community helps one of those aspects.

“I think the sense of community is probably one of the best things that we have here,” Aragon said. “That really gets into our socialization aspect of things for people, especially if they have been widowed or even if they’re there, and they have a spouse passed away that comforts the people that have been through it.”

Pricing at Montebello starts at $3,700 a month for a studio.

“Some people are worried they cannot afford it as there are some communities that, like us, are at a little higher end,” Aragon said. “But without exploring, we cannot find solutions, and we have lots of solutions for people. So finding them and what are those options, and figuring out how to find senior living are probably some of the biggest misconceptions.”

One-bedroom apartments are also $3,700 with two-bedroom units starting at $5,100.

“I think a misconception is some people think it is a convalescent center and they think they’re going to be put in a wheelchair and staring at a TV or out of the window,” Aragon said. “There’s activities, and they are still grown adults, who can still participate in their own care and make decisions just because they need a little bit of help.”

Lively community

At the Neighborhood at Rio Rancho, located at 900 Loma Colorado Blvd. NE, they are also trying to buck the trend.

“Back in the early 1900s, through the 1950s, and ’60s, nursing homes really didn’t have the best reputations,” said Shay Wallace, corporate director of sales and marketing. “They would start to think if that’s where I go, then I am not going to have any fun and I am just going to be in a room not doing anything and for lack of better terms, so I think it is just the last place they want to go.”

Like Montebello, Rio Rancho promotes an active lifestyle.

“But when you go to Rio Rancho and they come in, and they see all the things that are going on, and they see the livelihood of the community, they start to feel it’s just a great place to live,” Wallace said. “All these things are right at their fingertips, and they are getting three great meals a day, and they start to see that this is the way I really want to live my life.”

Having multiple options throughout the day can help seniors combat boredom.

“Just that ability to kind of go down the hall and have a really good time is big for them,” Wallace said.

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