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Robin’s Nest: Making Meth-Wick Unique

If there’s one thing that makes Meth-Wick unique, it’s the variety of lifestyles residents live on our campus.

Those new to Meth-Wick are often surprised by the mix. We offer five different styles of living: Independent Living, Independence Plus, Assisted Living for Physical Needs, Assisted Living for Memory Needs, and Nursing Care. Some residents live with their spouse in a newly-built single-family home while others take advantage of assisted living services in a spacious, private apartment.

On a 65-acre campus like ours, there’s room for different kinds of lifestyles to exist in harmony with each other, all benefiting from Meth-Wick’s 57 years of experience in senior living.

That’s why we’re considered a Life Plan Community, rather than a care facility. The phrase “care facility” conjures up images you might associate with your parents or grandparents, but certainly not with yourself. A Life Plan Community, on the other hand, is a vibrant place that offers older adults a range of residential options along with opportunities for personal, creative and educational exploration.

In a Life Plan Community like we have at Meth-Wick, residents get to live the life they have been planning for years. They have access to our expansive wellness program, from yoga classes to walking trails to specially-fitted recumbent bicycles. They can attend on-campus lectures and join community groups. And, they have access to different levels of assistance should their health needs change over the years.

We’re proud that older adults from all different walks of life have chosen to be a part of the Meth-Wick story. It’s what will continue to make our community unique for many years to come.

Calculating the Cost of Senior Independent Living

Many seniors who own their home (and are therefore free of mortgage payments) believe their cost of living is lower than it would be at a senior living community. However, when you do the math and make an item-by-item comparison, the expenses are often nearly the same and in some cases, the cost of living at a senior community is even a little less.

In “Be Your Own Hero: Senior Living Decisions Simplified,” a chapter is devoted to calculating the real cost of senior living. You’ll need to itemize your monthly and annual expenses to get a true picture of what it costs to live in your home.

Expenses to consider:

  • Appliances (repair & maintenance)
  • Cable, internet, phone
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Entertainment/Dining Out
  • Garbage collection
  • Groceries
  • Health club fees
  • Home renovation (painting, carpeting)
  • Home repairs (roof, gutters)
  • Housekeeping service
  • Insurance (health, life, home)
  • Lawn care
  • Medical (prescription & nonprescription drugs)
  • Mortgage or rent
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (electricity, water, sewer)
  • (clothing, household supplies)

While working through the above will help you put dollars to concrete expenses, the book’s author, Catherine Owens, points out the importance of weighing the intangible costs as well. “The cost of remaining in your home is more than just dollars,” Owens writes. Life should not be about “getting by” and surviving; it should be about day-to-day contentment and well being. This means you need an environment, be it your single family home or your home at a senior living community, which can support and address your mental, emotional and physical needs. All of these are important to maintaining health.

A Life Plan Community like Meth-Wick provides easily accessible, ongoing support for these needs. A broad range of planned programs help residents exercise both body and mind while also interacting with others, which is another important factor in healthy senior living.

While it is possible for an individual’s needs to be met in their home, it takes effort. For instance, it can be difficult to locate senior-focused exercise classes and to make sure there is social interaction with friends or relatives several times a week. Older adults who remain in their home, especially those living alone, often do not have their needs fulfilled.

Consider the following questions as you assess your cost of living. These are the intangibles, but carry as much weight as your “dollars and cents” expenses:

  • What is important in my day-to-day life? What is the cost if I don’t have it?
  • What is important for me to have in a community? What is the cost of living without it?
  • What value do I see in the intangible I will gain by moving to a senior community? What will be the cost to my health and quality of life if I don’t make a change?

As you compare the cost of staying in your home versus moving to a senior living community, it’s important to remember that the goal of Life Plan Communities like Meth-Wick is to enrich your life, not to change who you are. The knowledgeable, experienced staff and senior-focused programs at these communities provide the peace of mind and support needed for every resident to live their best life.

As you evaluate your needs and ask yourself “Can I afford to move to a senior living community?” it’s also important to ask, “Can I afford not to?”

Contact Julie Farmer to discover how affordable life at Meth-Wick can be.

Socializing Has a Positive Impact on Senior Health


You enjoy your book club, visits with grandkids and lunch with friends, but did you also know these are good for your health?

Research shows that social interaction is good for everyone, but it is especially beneficial for older adults. “Social capital” is the name researchers have given to the ties that help us build trust, connection and participation. As part of the aging process, people often retire from jobs, lose friends through death and lose family due to busy careers or relocation. This reduction in social interaction can have a negative impact on an older person’s physical and mental health.

All Interaction Helps
Fortunately, it is never too late for an older adult to reap the rewards of a social life, according to an article from the Health Behavior News Service of the Center for Advancing Health.

The article quotes the author of a study related to the effects of socialization among older adults: “People have some control over their social lives, so it is encouraging to find that something many people find enjoyable—socializing with others—can benefit their cognitive and physical health,” says Patricia A. Thomas, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas and her research associates studied how a person’s changing social connections over time affected health. Study participants, all over the age of 60, were asked about social activities such as visiting family and friends; attending meetings, programs or clubs; and volunteering in the community. They were also asked about mental and physical limitations.

Thomas found that participants with medium to high levels of social engagement delayed the onset of cognitive and physical health issues. She points out, “Even if older adults weren’t socially active when they were younger, when they increase social activity later in life, it can still reduce physical and cognitive health issues.”

The Impact of Communities with Rich Social Capital
Compelling arguments for the importance of social connections are also shared through the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkley.

An article on the Center’s website discusses the research work of Yvonne Michael at the Drexel University School of Public Health, who studies the effects of social capital on seniors.

Her studies involve asking older adults living in various communities to answer questions such as “Are your neighbors willing to help each other with routine maintenance?” or “Can you trust your neighbors?” Using the results, Michael determines the connections between health, behavior and social capital.

In a health study involving 14,000 older adults, Michael found that seniors who live in neighborhoods with high levels of social capital are more physically mobile than those living in neighborhoods with low social capital.

In summary, Michael said, “Living in a place with greater social capital—where there is more trust and more helpful neighbors—you will feel more comfortable walking around to get to places you need to go, which helps you stay mobile.”

A Healthy Answer to Isolation
Senior living communities like Meth-Wick provide a solution to the decline in the social capital of older adults. We offer an environment where companionship and interaction are easily accessible.

Meth-Wick’s Town Center is our hub of social activity, where residents can join friends for a leisurely cup of coffee or participate in one of many programs to exercise the body and mind. There are also many on-campus opportunities to volunteer, which is another important way to build social capital.

At Meth-Wick, we believe in helping our residents live their best life through many forms of social engagement, while at the same time respecting personal privacy.

Seniors Benefit from Exploring Their Creative Side


In recent years, the “graying of America” has inspired a re-evaluation of the way people age, emphasizing the potential of seniors rather than their limitations. This new perspective goes hand-in-hand with research studies that seek to find which factors contribute to senior citizens remaining healthy and independent longer. A growing body of evidence shows that visual and performing arts can improve brain function in older adults.

The art of aging
A study conducted by the Center on Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University found that older adults who create artwork have improved brain function. The 300 study participants were divided into two groups. One group participated in a weekly art class while the other did not. The researchers said the results “…point to true health promotion and disease prevention effects” and to “a positive impact on maintaining independence and on reducing dependency.” Their summary also states, “The community-based cultural program for older adults appears to be reducing risk factors that drive the need for long-term care.”

Another study on aging was conducted in Germany with 28 retirees between the ages of 62 and 70. A brain scan was taken of each participant at the beginning of the study. Over a 10-week period, half of the group took part in an art course where they created artwork after first learning painting and drawing techniques. The other participants attended an art appreciation class where they learned to interpret sculptures and paintings.

Brain scans were repeated at the end of the coursework. While there was no change in the brain activity of those who attended the art appreciation class, there was a notable change for the participants who created artwork. Their brains had increased levels of cognitive processing, which including introspection, self-monitoring and memory. The researchers concluded that creating art offers the possibility for reducing or even eliminating the reduced brain function that normally comes with aging.

…and dancing, too!
Expressing themselves through arts such as painting is not the only way for seniors to improve their brain health. Dancing can also provide benefits. The New England Journal of Medicine reported the results of a study that explored the types of activities that could improve brain function and reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A group of seniors over the age of 75 took part in reading, bicycling or swimming, crossword puzzles, golf and dancing. Researchers found that individuals who danced were 76 percent less likely to develop dementia. This was the only activity where researchers found a direct link.

“Studies in recent years have provided great insight into how people age and what is needed to support active and healthy aging,” says Eryn Cronbaugh, Meth-Wick’s Director of Wellness and Recreation. “Meth-Wick offers residents a broad range of programs to exercise the body and mind, with the goal of supporting our residents in remaining active and independent longer.” She also points out that the types of programs evolve with the ever-changing interests and needs of its residents.

From painting and woodworking to yoga and chair volleyball, Meth-Wick empowers residents to age actively and gracefully…to enjoy their best life.

Suit up! Warm Water Therapy is Coming to Meth-Wick


Water is a therapeutic tool that can benefit many health conditions, which is why we’ve taken steps to provide this therapy to Linn County residents. Meth-Wick is installing two Hydroworx pools at The Woodlands through the Rejuvenate campaign.  The therapy pools will enable Meth-Wick to offer improved quality of life to individuals who have been unable to exercise due to pain, limited mobility and/or discomfort.

We anticipate many benefits to water therapy with the Hydroworx pools. Some of those benefits are:

  • Reducing the force of gravity that’s compressing the joint. Hydrotherapy offers 360-degree support for sore limbs, decreases swelling and inflammation, and increases circulation.
  • Stimulating blood flow to stiff muscles and frozen joints. This makes it easier for a person to move joints and exercise more than they would be able to do outside of the pools.
  • Moveable floors that aid in safe entry and exit for all residents. “Once the pool floor is lowered, the bottom acts as a treadmill that promotes proper posture and gait while walking,” says our Fitness Specialist, Kristin VanDyke. “There are also underwater cameras so fitness and therapy professionals can assess the biomechanics of residents.”
  • Adjustable jets allow each resident to set their own resistance. As the resident’s workouts progress, the resistance can be increased to challenge and improve their endurance and strength.
  • New aquatic exercise classes, aquatic personal training and water walking. These classes will aim to decrease fall risk, increase strength, endurance and range of motion, as well as improve overall health and well being of all residents.

Meth-Wick is excited to add Hydroworx pools to its campus not only because of the additional fitness programming but because of the many benefits they will bring to our residents and the Cedar Rapids Community.

If you have questions about the Hydroworx pools or wellness at Meth-Wick, contact Eryn Cronbaugh, Director of Wellness and Recreation, or Kristin VanDyke, Fitness Specialist.

What is the cost of care?

According to’s annual “Usage and Attitudes Survey,” family caregivers are hesitant to discuss health care concerns with their loved ones. This includes topics like moving into a senior living community.

Here are some more facts from the survey:

  • 46% of caregivers spend more than $5,000 out of pocket annually on medications, medical bills, for both in and out of home care
  • 60% say caregiving duties have a negative effect on their job
  • 42% have raised concerns about how their loved one is managing medical care
  • 45% have discussed planning for a time their loved ones can no longer care for him/herself
  • 30% have discussed how to pay for care
  • 33% spend more than 30 hours per week on caregiving

meth-wick-home-and-health-307x219-2Do you have any of the above concerns? If so, you are not alone. There are services available for you or if you need help caring for a loved one to keep them safe and in their home. Through the Meth-Wick community, our Home & Health services can be tailored to what you need. This includes things like nursing services, companion/chore services and medication management in the comfort of your own home.

“For many, the cost of care is a challenge, living in a nursing home or in assisted living is expensive. On top of this expense, for some, the thought of leaving home is heart breaking. Meth-Wick’s Home & Health services can work to keep your long-term care cost to a minimum and to meet that goal of staying “home” and out of assisted living care,” say Amber Jedlicka, Operations Director of Home & Health Services.

If you’ve had a medical procedure or have been in the hospital, give us a call to inquire about our free offer for Your First Day Home.

For more information about our Home & Health services, call (319) 297-8654 or visit our website.

What Independence Plus Means


In our last post, we discussed factors you should consider when looking at a retirement community. We want to expand on that a bit this week by taking a closer look at our Independence Plus style of living. Meth-Wick likes to think of Independence Plus as a lifestyle for those seniors who are independent but may need help with some day-to-day tasks, like laundry and house keeping.

Residents who choose this lifestyle would live in The Manor, which is a multi-residence building, providing the privacy of your own home with fellowship right outside your door. There are many conveniences at The Manor that make our resident’s lives more enjoyable. Those include:

  • Maintenance of appliances
  • Weekly housekeeping
  • Courtesy rides in a chauffeur-driven car
  • Weekly bus trips to the grocery store
  • Intra-campus transportation system
  • Home & Health services

The dining area in The Manor is more like a restaurant. Residents can come at any time of day to eat and it is open. There is a two-page menu that they can choose from that has a lot of variety and selection.

“Those living in Independence Plus are assured of continuing care as the need arises, and the transition from IP to assisted living or skilled nursing care is smooth and seamless,” says Toni Claussen, Sales Manager of The Manor. “This is very convenient for families and promotes peace of mind to residents for future needs.”

The Manor is also home to Town Center, the social hub for all Meth-Wick residents. It includes:

  • The Manor Brew (coffee shop)
  • Fitness and exercise areas
  • Library
  • Billiard room
  • Gift Shop
  • Doctor’s office
  • Rooftop patio
  • Chapel
  • Beauty Parlor

The Independence Plus lifestyle at Meth-Wick truly lives up to its name. Our residents are independent PLUS they are able get the help they need while enjoying The Manor’s many amenities to keep up their active lifestyle.

Choosing a Place to Retire?


Well, you’ve started researching retirement communities. There are a lot of things that need to be considered when you begin looking. So, where do you start? U.S. News posted an article about “13 Factors to Consider when Choosing a Place to Retire.” Let’s start there:

1. Make sure you can afford it. Look at all of the factors of the cost of living: state income tax, homeowners insurance. These things can vary greatly from state to state.

2. Investigate the demographics. Knowing the community that you will be moving into is key. You want to make sure that you are going to be able to find like-minded people to spend time with.

3. Talk to people like you in the areas you’re considering. Find friends of friends or college alumni in the area, or talk to people you meet when you visit.

4. Check on the availability of good medical care and the cost of insurance. It’s good to locate hospitals in the area and know what the retirement community itself provides. At Meth-Wick, we have our own Home & Health services that come to you.

5. Think about how you’ll spend your time and whether you can do it in the new location. Think of the activities you enjoy and make sure that you are able to continue those activities in your new community.

6. Distance from family. How close or how far do you want to be from your children/grandchildren? If you cannot afford to travel to see them often, a retirement community close to them should be your main focus.

7. Consider whether you’ll be happier in a single-family house, condo or mobile home. Meth-Wick has a variety of housing and service options for people looking to downsize but still live an independent life. Think of what kind of space you will need to keep up with your lifestyle.

8. Evaluate planned senior communities vs. all-ages communities. This determines the type of social interactions you have within the community. If you are looking to move somewhere new, one of the advantages of a planned retirement community is that these activities are planned for you and allow you to meet new people much easier. Check out all of the activities Meth-Wick provides it residents on our Facebook page.

9. Make sure your home will accommodate your needs as you age. Are you able to live in a single family home with stairs 20 years from now? If you need a wheelchair down the road, will your new home be able to accommodate? Remember that planning for retirement is just that, a plan. You need to look into the future and what could happen and make your decisions that way.

10. Look at transportation options. What types of transportation are available in the area? Do you have access to transportation for business, personal and social needs? Could you easily get to the grocery store and pharmacy if you needed to?

11. If you go overseas, know the rules and the laws. Just as the cost of living changes from state to state, the laws of living change when you leave the country. “Some countries don’t allow foreigners to buy properties. Others require certain income levels for legal residency. It is not as easy to legally immigrate to another country as it looks.”

12. Consider that you may have to move again. Many retirement communities, like Meth-Wick, offer a continuum of services, so if you have to move from a home to an apartment style of living, you can still stay in the same community and you will not have to start the research process over again.

13. Take all those lists of top retirement spots with a grain of salt. You want to find a retirement community that is right for you. You have your own set of criteria. Be sure to evaluate all your options as you decide what retirement community feels right for you.

How Meth-Wick Does Independent Living

Independent living is best defined as seniors who can take care of themselves and their residence and are able to live independently without medical care. Do you know the number of independent living options for seniors today? There are quite a few, as the retirement living landscape has changed.

Retirement living is no longer seen as a place for those who need assistance, but is now seen as a place for those who want to maintain their lifestyle without having to worry about taking care of a home. Each independent living option should be unique to the senior and should allow them to pick a home that is a perfect fit for them.

As you are considering your independent living options, here is what Meth-Wick has to offer.

Brendelwood Village
Brendelwood Village consists of 25 homes: 5 single family and 10 duplexes. The homes are private and spacious. Each home has it’s own attached garage with a private entrance and ranges from 1,250 square feet to 1,650 square feet.

Deer Ridge
Deer Ridge offers a condominium style of living. It is a multi-resident building that provides residents both privacy and fellowship. There are one-, two-, extra large two- or three-bedroom condominiums available.

Amenities at Deer Ridge include a woodworking shop, billiards room, computer room, exercise room and a beauty/barber shop.

Greenwood Terrace
Greenwood Terrace first opened in April 1987. These condominium-style apartments have a true homey feel. There are one-, two-, extra large two- and three-bedroom units available. Each has it’s own porch and has plenty of storage space. The home you choose at Greenwood Terrace, like other places on Meth-Wick’s campus, can be customized to your style. You choose everything from the flooring to the paint color.

Highland Park
Highland Park is Meth-Wick’s newest addition. It consists of 13 units: 5 single-family homes and 4 duplexes. All homes have a two car attached garage, private entrance and are 1,600 square feet or larger. Each home has the option of adding a deck or porch and about half of the homes have walkout basements.

Independent living is for the active senior who is young or young at heart. The choices are many; the lifestyle is yours. It is important to know your options and find the retirement living environment that is the perfect fit for you.

Coming soon – Oakwood Condominiums. Please contact Julie Farmer at or 319-365-9171 for more information.

What You Think You Know About Community Living

You’ve begun to ask yourself if it’s time to downsize. But moving into a retirement community is out of the question because you can still take care of yourself. You start looking at condos and townhomes.

Before you make any final decisions, here are some important things to consider. published an article touching on some of these same points. They said, “A (Senior) Housing Options Service Comparison Overview chart provided by Legg Mason really drives home an important point: The only senior housing that provides all levels of senior living is a continuing care retirement community.” 

As much as we don’t want to admit it, there are some physical limitations that come with growing older. Planning ahead to accommodate for those limitations can help bring to light the benefits of community living.

Retirement community living offers many benefits:

  • It embraces its resident’s independence. Just because you are moving into community living, does not mean you have to become part of a community.
  • You can keep all of your stuff. Often times community living is mistakenly seen as giving up everything to move into a small space. It’s important to look for a retirement community that offers a variety of lifestyle options and floor plans.
  • If you move into community living now, you are opening yourself up to all the services that you may need down the road and you won’t have to move again!
  • It offers many socialization opportunities, where you can choose how involved you’d like to be.

“They’re not really giving up their independence or their things when they move to a retirement community,” Meth-Wick president Robin Mixdorf noted. “They’ve just looked down the path and have seen that there might be other needs that they’ll have in the future. All of those things can be taken care of in one spot when you come to a retirement community.”

Planning for your future is a daunting task. It’s important to look at all of your options before you make the decision that’s right for you.