Tag Archives: seniors

LifeSpire residents and staff bike the Virginia Capital Trail

By Ann Lovell

Dee Brooking, 76, has owned her green Schwinn bike for more than 30 years. To celebrate Active Aging Week, she rode 20 miles on the Virginia Capital Trail with her husband, Curtis, 80, and other LifeSpire of Virginia residents.

RICHMOND, Virginia—Dee Brooking, 76, has owned her green Schwinn bike for more than 30 years. To celebrate active aging week, Brooking rode her green Schwinn from the Charles City Courthouse to the Jamestown Visitor Center, a distance of 20 miles on the Virginia Capital Trail. She joined 13 other LifeSpire of Virginia residents, staff and trustees — most over the age of 60.

The purpose of the ride was to celebrate active aging week and highlight the purpose of LifeSpire’s VBH Foundation, said Patricia Morris, LifeSpire vice president and head of the VBH Foundation. The foundation raises funds to help LifeSpire seniors who outlive their financial resources remain in their homes.

“It’s not a race,” Morris said. “It’s to prove you’re forever young.”

Mark Deardorff, 70, a resident of The Glebe, checks in with Pat Morris, LifeSpire vice president and head of the VBH Foundation. Deardorff, an avid cyclist, finished the 40 mile trail in just under 2.5 hours.

The bikers had the option of starting the trail at one of three starting points: Four Mile Creek trailhead at mile marker 40, Herring Creek trailhead at mile marker 27 and the Charles City Courthouse at mile marker 20. The trail is mostly flat and shaded for much of the 40-mile ride, with the exception of the bridge crossing the Chickahominy River. The ride ended at mile marker 0 — the Jamestown visitor center where Virginia Capital Bike Shuttle was available to shuttle riders back to their vehicles.

The oldest group of riders, which included Brooking, her husband, Curtis, 80, and Bob Hill, 80, started at Charles City Courthouse. All three live at The Culpeper, a LifeSpire of Virginia community in Culpeper. Other residents and staff from The Glebe in Daleville and The Chesapeake in Newport News started at mile markers 40 and 27, respectively.

“I feel like I’ve been in the Tour de France,” Brooking, a native of France, said as she crossed the finish line.

Mark Deardorff, 70, and Rachel Burks, 25, finished the ride first. Deardorff, a resident of The Glebe, is an active cyclist. Burks is The Glebe’s wellness coordinator. Both started at the 40-mile mark and finished in just under 2.5 hours.

“We averaged 16.7 miles per hour,” Deardorff said, checking his fitness watch just after the ride.

Every rider finished, and based on the results, LifeSpire’s VBH Foundation plans to host a similar event next year, Morris said.

“Everyone seemed to have a good time, and it was a beautiful day for a bike ride,” Morris said. “Given the way this turned out, we hope to open it up for registration and sponsorships next year.”

More details on next year’s event will be available in early 2018.

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

LifeSpire seniors to ‘bike for benevolence’ Sept. 28

Bob Hill, 80, a resident of The Culpeper, regularly runs and bikes to keep in shape. Hill will participate in “Biking for Benevolence” Sept. 28, a wellness event hosted by LifeSpire’s Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation.

By Ann Lovell

RICHMOND, Virginia—Never underestimate the strength of a senior. Five LifeSpire of Virginia residents — ranging in age from 70 to 80 — will bike the Virginia Capital trail Sept. 28. The event for LifeSpire residents, staff, trustees and families will highlight Active Aging Week and raise awareness of the mission of Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation, said Patricia Morris, a LifeSpire vice president and head of the VBH Foundation.  The ride offers starting points at mile posts 42, 27 or 20, and the group of 17 riders will finish in Jamestown at mile post 0.

The International Council on Aging designated the last full week in September as Active Aging Week beginning in 2003.  Held this year from Sept. 24-30, Active Aging Week celebrates aging and showcases the capability of older adults. Through the bike event, LifeSpire of Virginia is linking senior wellness with the opportunity to support those who outlive their financial resources, Morris said.

“Last year, VBH Foundation gave more than $1.1 million to 59 life care residents across all four LifeSpire communities. Thanks to the support of our donors, no life care resident has ever been asked to leave a community because they ran out of money,” Morris said. “The support of our foundation provides LifeSpire’s residents the peace of mind that allows them to flourish.”

Riders may start from mile post 42 or 27 at 11 a.m. or at mile post 20 at 12:30 p.m. Riders are expected to finish around 3 p.m. at mile post 0 in Jamestown. The Cap Trail shuttle is providing free shuttle service to event participants.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities across Virginia: The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville, The Chesapeake in Newport News, and Lakewood in Richmond.


Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. Contact her at alovell@lifespireliving.org or (804) 521-9192.

Book Review: Missing Mary by J. Keith McMullin

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that afflicts more than 5.3 million people in the United States and is the sixth leading cause of death for Americans. Behind the numbers and definitions, Alzheimer’s robs its victims of the ability to carry out the most basic daily tasks, and families often use words like “brutal” and “unrelenting” to describe its effects. At this point, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. It claims 100 percent of its victims.

In Missing Mary: A crash course in Alzheimer’s Dementia, J. Keith McMullin, shares the struggle of Alzheimer’s from the perspective of a caregiver. McMullin’s mother, Mary Compton McMullin, a former mathematics professor with a genius I.Q., succumbed to the disease in 2013. With insight and humor, McMullin describes the twists and turns a family experiences resulting from an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. He also offers practical guidance for managing the disease and candidly discusses the challenges associated with selecting an assisted living facility that would provide the highest quality care for his mother. Narrowing the list of options from the more than 100 senior care facilities in Richmond, Virginia, — Miss Mary’s home — could have been an arduous task, McMullin writes. In reality, “funneling the list down to a handful of facilities was far easier than it first seemed.”

For Miss Mary, the community that best met her needs was Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Richmond’s West End. Lakewood provided the care McMullin’s mother would need until the end of her life, including hospice care. “There was no way my mother could play musical chairs and manage changing facilities and care teams every time her care needs increased,” McMullin writes. Her preference for a faith-based community narrowed the list of options even further.

Missing Mary is more than an easy, well-written read about the struggle with Alzheimer’s dementia. Ultimately, it is a story of love given and love received — a lasting tribute to a remarkable woman with the spirit of a champion.

Missing Mary: A Crash Course in Alzheimer’s Dementia by J. Keith McMullin is available for purchase from Amazon. The author will hold a reading and book signing, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, at 5 p.m. in the Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital Education Center (Room 161), 5801 Bremo Road, Richmond, Virginia. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.MissingMary.com.


Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Addressing long-term care issues: the benefits of Life Care

By Ann Lovell

Grandpa Gets a Kiss

RICHMOND, Virginia—Long-term care: It’s a topic most Americans know they should talk about but might rather not. Questions such as: “Who will take care of me?” “What level of health care can I afford?” and “Who will take care of my spouse?” are issues that should be addressed well before significant health concerns arise.

These discussions become even more essential as the U.S. population ages. According to a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one in five U.S. residents is expected to be 65 or older by 2030. The Wall Street Journal reported in a May 1, 2015, article that more than two-thirds of individuals age 65 and older will require some type of long-term care. Yet, while a 2013 national survey found that 90 percent of Americans believed it was important to have end-of-life care discussions with their families, less than 30 percent had actually done so.

It’s time to have the discussion — and a good place to start is by understanding Life Care.

In its simplest terms, Life Care means residency in an apartment or cottage along with comprehensive health care services and amenities. Most Life Care communities — and all LifeSpire of Virginia communities —provide independent living, assisted living and full-time nursing care in one location. As a result, residents have the security of knowing that short- and/or long-term health care needs will be met on-site with no substantial increases in cost. Often referred to as an “all-inclusive plan,” Life Care acts as a safety net against the future high costs of long-term care.

Phases of Life Care

  • Independent Living: Life Care begins with independent living, emphasizing wellness and encouraging residents to maintain good health for an active and independent lifestyle. In LifeSpire communities, this means a spacious cottage or apartment with a wide array of on-site amenities including a health clinic, physical therapy, fitness center, regular health checks and other activities and programs. However, Life Care goes beyond independent living. In LifeSpire communities, residents also have access to assisted living and nursing care around the clock. As a result, residents are never far from their spouse or friends while they receive the additional services they need.
  • Assisted Living: Assisted living is an “in-between” residential service for those who are independent but need some assistance with the activities of daily living. In LifeSpire communities, residents receive personal care support and services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing and transportation.
  • Nursing Care: In many cases, nursing care is required only briefly, such as after a hospital stay. In those cases, the emphasis is on helping residents rehabilitate and recuperate as quickly as possible so they can return to their apartment or cottage. In other cases, a condition might be chronic or progressive, requiring a longer stay in the Health Services Center.

The benefits of Life Care

  • Steady long-term care costs: No matter how long a stay is required in assisted living or nursing care, Life Care provides residents the services they need on-site for as long as necessary. Beyond the regular monthly fees paid for an apartment or cottage residence, the only additional costs for assisted living and/or nursing care cover two additional daily meals and ancillary charges, such as medical supplies and pharmacy. This arrangement helps protect a resident’s estate by keeping health care costs steady even as health needs increase.
  • Tax benefits: The Internal Revenue Service considers a portion of the entrance fee paid the year a resident moves in and monthly fees paid each year of residency as “pre-paid medical expenses.” As such, a resident may add part of those fees as itemized health care costs for possible income tax deductions. The portion of the fees used in this manner varies by community and from year to year. Contact a tax adviser for more information.
  • Affordability: The Wall Street Journal reported in 2015 that the median annual cost for a private nursing home is $91,250, and 24-hour care can reach $170,000, according to a study from Genworth Financial. Life Care in a LifeSpire community is much more affordable. For example, the industry average in Virginia for one year of nursing home care for a single person is a little more than $100,000. Factoring in the additional cost of home maintenance, home health care may reach as much as $200,000. However, with a Life Care contract in a LifeSpire community, a resident’s monthly fee of approximately $50,000 does not increase as additional nursing care is required.
  • Quality of Life: According to a 1997 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people who live in continuing care retirement communities generally live longer than those who stay in their homes. CCRCs also reduce the risk of disease and disability and improve the health of their residents. By combining a variety of services that affect overall wellness of residents, including activities and sports facilities, LifeSpire CCRCs encourage seniors to take responsibility for maintaining their personal health.

Life Care allows seniors in LifeSpire communities to take control of their future and proactively choose where and with whom they will live while receiving the care they may need. This provides peace of mind and the opportunity to spare loved ones from the stress of making a difficult decision in a time of crisis.

By selecting a Life Care community with a reputation for exceptional care — like one of the four LifeSpire communities — residents can be certain that if care is needed the best will be available.

Call or email us to schedule a tour of one of our four LifeSpire communities:

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, an equal housing opportunity provider. Contact her at alovell@lifespireliving.org or at (804)521-9192.