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What Living Independently Looks Like at Meth-Wick

What Living Independently Looks Like at Meth-Wick

Retirement living comes in plenty of different shapes and sizes. At Meth-Wick alone, residents can choose between five different styles of living.

For many, independent living is the best way to keep up with your lifestyle without the demands of owning a home. All your home maintenance needs are handled by our capable Meth-Wick staff. Say goodbye to appliance maintenance and lawn care and say hello to the life you’ve been planning for years.

Meth-Wick has a variety of options for living an active and healthy senior lifestyle as part of our vibrant campus community.

Brendelwood Village includes 25 townhouses lining wooded Brendel Hill. Each home has 1,250–1,839 square feet of living space. The layout includes two bedrooms, two baths, living and dining area, full kitchen, washer and dryer, and attached garage. Several have been custom built to include extra features like a four seasons porch.


Highland Park consists of six single-family homes and four duplexes. All homes have a two-car garage, private entrance, basement for extra storage and generous living space of approximately 1,650 square feet. Select homes include a deck or patio.


Oakwood is our newest condominium living option. Residents choose from six floor plans, ranging from 1,176–1,822 square feet. The building includes a common area for gatherings and indoor parking to ensure easy access to your vehicle no matter what Iowa weather brings.


Deer Ridge condominiums offer one, two, extra-large two, and
three bedroom options. All sizes include a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and optional climate-controlled parking stalls on the ground floor. A year-round sunroom is incorporated into every home. There are over 60 condos, along with beautiful common areas, including a large dining room, library, exercise room, beauty and barber shop, meeting room, woodworking shop, craft room, billiards room and computer room.


Greenwood Terrace is comprised of more than 50 condo-style apartments within a secured entrance. Each home includes a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and enclosed porch, with parking in a heated garage. Common areas include a mezzanine, library, dining room, private dining alcove, outdoor patio, billiards and game room, meeting room, car wash, exercise room and computer room.


Could you see yourself at home in one of these beautiful residences on our wooded 65-acre campus? Get in touch with our sales manager, Julie Farmer, to see what’s available.

What to do after a fall

Our bodies change with age. Our vision can get fuzzy, our muscles may get weaker, and our steps can get shorter. It’s a normal part of the aging process, no matter how fit and agile you may be. That’s why any American over 65 is at risk of joining the one in four older adults who experiences a fall each year.

If you’ve fallen, it’s important to take stock of any injuries you may have sustained and get up in a way that won’t hurt you further. Here are some direction from describing how to safely pick yourself back up after a fall:

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Examine yourself for injuries—bruises, possible sprains, broken bones.
  3. If you are confident you haven’t broken any bones or experienced a serious injury, search for the nearest piece of sturdy furniture. (A chair would be ideal.)
  4. Roll onto your hands and knees, then crawl or pull yourself over to the piece of furniture.
  5. Get into a kneeling position and place your arms on a stable area of the piece of furniture (e.g. the seat of the chair).
  6. Bring one knee forward and place your foot on the floor.
  7. Using your arms and leg simultaneously, push yourself up and pivot your bottom around until you’re sitting on the piece of furniture.
  8. Stay sitting until you’re confident you can move around without hurting yourself or falling again.
  9. If you find that you are unable to get up after falling, stay calm and try to alert someone to your predicament. While you’re waiting for help, try to keep warm and move around slowly to avoid placing too much sustained pressure on any one area of your body.
  10. Notify your doctor that you’ve had a fall – this is the most important step!

If you’ve experienced a fall, you may feel the need to stay away from activities that could make you fall again. That’s a natural reaction. But decreasing your activity will make you weaker, thus increasing the likelihood you will fall again. It’s a vicious cycle.

The best way to stay on your feet and avoid a fall is to continually work on your balance. Healthline describes a number of exercises you could work into your daily routine. For example, standing on one leg for 30 seconds and then the other while brushing your teeth. Or standing up from an armless chair without holding on to anything.

Meth-Wick has exercise equipment and programs that are tailored to seniors — air resistance machines rather than weight machines and recumbent, step-through bicycles rather than traditional bikes. It’s just another way Meth-Wick is designed to help you live your best life.

WelTracs: Making Wellness a Priority

Shantel Phipps stays busy on Meth-Wick’s campus. As a Successful Aging Coordinator, she personally developed and now implements the health and wellness program WelTracs.

Once a new resident is accepted into independent living at Meth-Wick, the WelTracs journey begins. They fill out a resource analysis form as part of their admission and then participate in an assessment with Shantel.

“At Meth-Wick, we want our residents to live their best lives,” says Shantel. “WelTracs allows us to get to know residents right as they join our community. That way we can help them navigate all the resources available to them in their new home.”

The main purpose of WelTracs is to build a successful aging plan for each resident living independently at Meth-Wick. Shantel helps residents build their plans by discussing their wellness goals.

Meth-Wick is filled with wellness resources. Shantel helps residents sort through the classes, gym equipment, and outings to determine what aspects best support your plan. Rather than bouncing between classes and events, she matches programs with each resident’s needs and interests. This method supports a better range, quality and depth of our wellness services.

The program also serves an additional purpose for our staff. It allows us to personalize our wellness and recreation programming for our current residents by providing a database of their interests. We are able to make informed decisions about the classes we offer, the speakers we bring in, and the events we host.

WelTracs started three years ago and currently has 100% participation. Each year, Shantel meets with residents to review and update their goals. She makes clear that WelTracs doesn’t require residents to meet their goals, it simply provides them the resources to do so.

At Meth-Wick, wellness doesn’t just mean physical wellbeing. It’s a whole person wellness model, which emphasizes six dimensions: spiritual, physical, vocational, emotional, intellectual and social wellness. Many residents make traditional goals for physical wellness, like attending fitness classes and using the campus walking trail. But they also set goals for building strong relationships with their grandchildren, joining a book club, or staying committed to their volunteering.

You’ve got a plan for how to spend this chapter of your life and Meth-Wick has the right resources to keep you well. Learn more about what WelTracs can do for you by contacting our Successful Aging Coordinator Shantel Phipps today.

3 Ways Community Living Can Make You Happier

Older adults have dozens of choices for where and how to spend their retirement years. Some of those choices are limited by ability but, for the most part, today’s older adults are largely healthy and living independently. So, if you’re in good health and capable of staying in your own home, why make a change? What would you gain from community living?

  1. Time

By the time you’re ready to retire, you’ll have spent thousands of hours mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow and cleaning out gutters. It takes a lot of time to maintain a home – time that could be spent enjoying the freedom offered by retirement. Older adults enjoying community living don’t have to worry about home upkeep. They can even elect to have their laundry and housekeeping done for them as well. Use that time doing things you really care about like spending time with friends and family, volunteering, traveling or cooking.

  1. Money

It doesn’t just take time to maintain a home. Issues with the water heater, faulty buttons on the microwave, burned out lightbulbs on the front porch — all unexpected headaches that come with homeownership. Senior living communities like Meth-Wick offer a variety of independent living options such as apartments, condos, townhomes and single-family homes that work with different lifestyles. Each living option includes things like appliance maintenance, transportation, and exercise classes so you can live the life you want without having to worry about your budget.

  1. Community

With age, social circles inevitably shrink as family and friends move away and driving gets more difficult. But community living keeps older adults active and connected with a peer group close at hand. Studies show that stronger social connections lead to happier and healthier lives for older adults. Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine questioned a group of SuperAgers, men and women in their 90s and 100s who have exceptional memories, about their lifestyle and habits. Genetics, diet and exercise obviously play a role but where the SuperAgers stood out was “the degree to which they reported having satisfying, warm, trusting relationships.” Turns out having a good group of friends is as good for the brain as it is for the soul.

Don’t think of senior living communities like retirement homes. Think of them like big neighborhoods where everyone has had a lot of the same experiences you’ve had. It’s not about bingo and bus trips – it’s about living the life you’ve been saving for and planning for decades. That life looks different to everyone. Some people want to spend half the year traveling and like knowing their home is protected by staff 24 hours a day. Others are looking for like-minded people to share new experiences with, like taking in local art and culture or trying a new exercise class.

Whatever life you want to live, there’s a community here for you at Meth-Wick.

What is assisted living?

Maybe you’ve noticed you need a little help around the house. Maybe you’re having a hard time remembering when to take your medication. Maybe your kids are nervous about you spending a lot of time alone at home. No matter the reason, assisted living is a great solution for older adults who need a little extra help or companionship in their routine.

At Meth-Wick Community, residents can choose from a wide range of care options. Some people live completely independently in single family homes, while others utilize 24-hour nursing care. For residents who find themselves somewhere in the middle, consider the benefits of our assisted living options: Arbor Place, Custom Care and Home & Health Services.

Arbor Place is an assisted-living facility for those with mild to moderate cognitive losses related to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Since opening its doors in 1997, Arbor Place has focused solely on caring for residents with memory care needs. It’s designed and furnished to feel like a traditional family-style home while also providing a safe and secure living environment.

We provide small groups of people with a quiet, family-style cottage where they feel safe and are encouraged to take part in wellness and recreation programs that promote quality of life. According to recent research, this is a standard of care that provides the greatest benefit to people with cognitive losses.

Each cottage has eight private rooms outfitted with modern amenities. In order to make every resident feel at home, we ask that they decorate their space with furnishings from home like their bed, easy chair, dresser, wall decorations, lamps, TV, etc.

This certified facility is monitored and supervised by our Director of Long Term Support and Services (LTSS) and an Arbor Place nurse. Specially trained employees, called Caregivers, staff each cottage 24 hours every day to allow for a low caregiver-to-resident ratio. Arbor Place Caregivers receive specialized dementia care training. Overnight security staff and a campus nurse are available seven days a week, providing residents and their families with peace of mind.

Custom Care is
a selection of health care
services provided on the
fourth floor of The Manor, 
a campus space certified for
assisted living. It is offered
to residents who can no longer live independently yet are not in need of the 24-hour nursing care, which is provided at The Woodlands. Custom Care services include:

  • Medication assistance
  • Bathing assistance
  • Grooming assistance
  • Dressing assistance
  • Morning and bedtime assistance
  • Personal laundry and bedding
  • Mail and newspaper delivery to apartment

Aside from the high-quality care, a variety of other conveniences at The Manor make life enjoyable and worry-free for residents. Laundry and housekeeping is done weekly by the Meth-Wick staff. Residents can take courtesy rides in a chauffeur-driven car, workout on a campus bicycle or in a water exercise class, and relax in the library and reading room.

Home & Health Services provide other assistance options for individuals who need some help with basic tasks but want to stay independent in their homes. It’s our way to deliver the high-quality, personalized services offered at Meth-Wick to older adults throughout the Cedar Rapids community. Our home health experts offer personal care assistance, companionship, transportation, and medication assistance. Home & Health Services are here to give older adults the type of support they need to keep them in their homes longer.

At Meth-Wick, we do everything we can to allow our residents and clients to live their best lives. If you are interested in learning more about assisted living, give us a call at (319) 365-9171.

What to know about Medicare in 2018

For Meth-Wick residents on Medicare, there are a few notable updates to keep an eye on over the coming year. The National Council on Aging and AARP tell us more:

New Medicare Cards

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid will remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. You will be sent a new card with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number. Your new cards won’t change your coverage or benefits but it will help protect you against fraud and identity theft.

New cards will be sent to the address on file at the Social Security Administration so make sure your contact information is up to date at or call 1-800-772-1213. The cards will be sent out in waves from April 2018 through April 2019 and Iowa residents shouldn’t expect theirs before June 2018.

When the new card arrives, begin using it right away and shred your old one.

REMINDER: Medicare will never ask you for personal or private information in order to receive your new card. Be suspicious of anyone requesting that kind of information.

Changing Costs

  • The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium and deductibles for 2018 won’t change from $134 (premium) and $183 (deductible). However, because of the size of the 2018 Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), approximately 42% of Medicare beneficiaries who were held harmless against the rising annual costs of Medicare in past years will see an increase up to $134.
  • Beneficiaries at certain income levels will pay higher Part B and D premiums, specifically if your income is at or above $133,501 or if you’re married with a joint income above $267,001. Find the complete chart of surcharges on the Medicare website.
  • Medicare Part A inpatient hospital deductibles will increase in 2018, going up $24 to $1,340.
  • Part D prescription drug premiums are expected to decline slightly from $34.70 a month in 2017 to 33.50 a month in 2018.
  • The coverage gap, also known as the doughnut hole, will continue to narrow in 2018 as it nears closure in 2020. For 2018, once you have incurred $3,750 worth of drug costs, you’ll be in the coverage gap. At that point, you’ll pay 35 percent of the cost of brand-name drugs and 44 percent of generics. You’ll continue to pay those prices until the total cost of your drugs reaches $5,000. Once you’ve hit that limit, you’ll no longer be in the doughnut hole and you’ll pay no more than 5 percent of your drug costs for the rest of the year.

Special Enrollment Periods

  • Part B Equitable Relief – If you delayed enrolling in Medicare Part B so you could stay in an Affordable Care Act Marketplace Qualified Health Plan (QHP), you may be able to enroll in Medicare Part B without penalty or with a reduced late enrollment penalty. You may be eligible for this equitable relief if you are enrolled in a QHP and you are enrolled in a premium-free Part A, AND your initial enrollment period (IEP) began April 1, 2013 or later OR if you were notified of retroactive premium-free Part A on October 2, 2013 or later. You have until Sept. 30, 2018 to request equitable relief from the Social Security Administration.
  • Changes Based on Star Rating – Medicare uses a star rating system to measure how Medicare Advantage and Part D plans perform. You can switch to a five-star rated Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Cost Plan, or Part D plan (if one is available in your area) once per year outside of annual open enrollment (Dec. 8 – Nov. 30). People in consistently low-performing Medicare Advantage or Part D plans (lower than three-star for three consecutive years) can request a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a higher star rated plan throughout the year.

If you have questions about changes in your Medicare coverage, we are here to help. Contact Cindy Robertson at 297-8646 with any concerns.

Important Exercise Habits for Seniors

Regular physical activity can prevent many common health problems faced by older adults, like high blood pressure, poor balance and obesity. If you’re not currently active, get together with your doctor and set some goals. Work the following habits into your exercise routine in order to achieve optimal health.

Aerobics are key

To start seeing health benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two options. Older adults should get 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week, like brisk walking and dance classes, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week, like jogging or running.

Work your muscles

Spend at least two days a week working all major muscle groups, including legs, hips, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Choose muscle-strengthening exercises that will increase your strength and endurance.

Set a schedule

Not a morning person? Work out in the evenings. Don’t like going to the gym? Grab a friend and get walking on the campus trail system. In order to be disciplined in your workout routine, you have to set goals that are realistic for your lifestyle and ability level.

Make it fun

It’s easier to stick with a new habit if you’re having a good time. Sign up for dance classes, take the grandkids for a walk, or go bowling with friends. Anything that gets you moving and keeps you interested is good for your health.

How Meth-Wick can help

Meth-Wick promotes the six dimensions of wellness: spiritual, physical, vocational, emotional, intellectual and social wellness. Exercise is an important piece of the wellness puzzle, which is why we provide a wide range of wellness and recreation activities. All of our exercise programs and resources are tailored to the needs of older adults, including:

  • Senior-friendly equipment, researched and purchased by Meth-Wick staff
    • Treadmills with safety features that include extended rails and a monitor to shut off the machine if the user gets too close to the end of the treadmill
    • Recumbent bicycles that allow users to step through the bike to be seated rather than step over a bar that might cause a fall
    • NuStep recumbent steppers, specially designed for low impact, effective cardiovascular and strength benefits
    • Dual-functioning weight machines that use air resistance rather than weights for a safer and more effective workout.
  • Exercise room open to residents 24-hours a day
  • Warm water therapy pools used for exercise and injury or surgery recovery
  • Variety of exercise classes offered every weekday, including walking groups, dance exercises and water aerobics

No matter what kind of habits you are trying to make or break, we are here to help. Meth-Wick has Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists on staff to help determine and follow through on the right exercise plan you.

Know When To Draw Your Social Security

In a recent study, 82% of pre-retirees didn’t know that the age they begin drawing their Social Security benefits affected the amount in their monthly payments. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) wants to make sure you aren’t a part of that statistic.

Consider these five tips from the CFPB to help you plan ahead and make the best decision for yourself and your family:

  1. Know your “full retirement age”

Did you know? One recent survey found that seven in ten consumers believe that 65 is their full retirement age. In fact, the full retirement age actually varies depending on the year you were born.

Full retirement age is the age at which you can begin collecting social security while still working, without facing a reduction in benefits. For most people, that’s usually around 66 or 67. Claiming before your full retirement age leads to a permanent decrease in monthly benefits, while claiming after leads to a permanent increase.

  1. Don’t claim early if you don’t have to

Did you know? You could see as much as a 30 percent reduction in monthly benefits by claiming before your full retirement age. But, you can get as much as a 32 percent permanent increase by claiming after your full retirement age – up to age 70.

Allowing your benefits to grow for one year makes a difference in your benefits. You’ll get an additional five to eight percent in monthly benefits for every year you wait to claim after age 62, maxing out at age 70. A higher monthly benefit could be important as you age, when Social Security may come to play a more central role in your retirement income.

  1. Know your retirement budget

Did you know? Retirement years could be more expensive than you expect due to changing health and housing expenses.

Start with a simple budget that accounts for your income and expenses. Consider both your actual income and expenses before retirement and your expected income and expenses after you retire. This can help you understand how a reduced or increased benefit will affect your ability to meet your needs in retirement. In addition, this kind of budgeting can help you decide if you should reduce your expenses and pay off any debts before retiring.

  1. Keep working if you can

Did you know? Forty-five percent of people believe that their benefits are based on how long they work as well as their pay during only the last five years of employment. In fact, they are based on their highest 35 years of earnings.

Staying in the workforce – full or part time – for even one or two additional years can earn you an even bigger increase in your Social Security benefit by replacing years with low or no earnings from your earnings record. Working longer also gives you more time to save for retirement. 

  1. Consider your spouse’s long-term needs

Did you know? On a more somber note, a married couple reaching age 65 can expect that one spouse will outlive the other for about 10 years or more on average — something forward-thinking planners should keep in mind.

Your decision of when to claim your Social Security benefits could affect the benefits your spouse will receive later in life. Because surviving spouses receive the higher of the two spouses’ benefits, it often makes sense for higher earning spouses to wait and claim at or after their full retirement age. They will then get their full or highest possible benefit. This can minimize the reduction in income a surviving spouse may experience. Talk to your spouse about your claiming options so you can make this important decision together.

Do you need more information to help you decide when to claim Social Security? Before you claim, check out this “Planning for Retirement” tool.

To get more facts about Social Security, check out this Consumer Financial Protection Bureau factsheet.

(Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

Travel Tips for Seniors

You’ve spent many years working hard and now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Many older adults are taking those vacations they’ve dreamed of for years – visiting family scattered across the country, traveling to new parts of the world, and sometimes just relaxing on a beach somewhere warm.

Before you skip town for your next adventure, travel smart by keeping these tips in mind.

  1. Pack your medicine and medical supplies in your carry-on luggage.

If you’ve already taken your prescriptions for the day, it’s easy to save space in your carry-on luggage by throwing them in your checked bag. But planes get delayed and bags get lost, so make sure you keep the medicine and supplies you need close at hand when you fly. Also, bring enough to last you an extra day or two in case your trip home is delayed.

  1. Keep your travel plans to yourself.

Thieves take interest in nice homes that sit empty, so don’t make your home an unnecessary target by sharing your travel plans online. Even if your account is private, Facebook isn’t as secure as you might think so wait until you return home to share tales of your vacation. Consider asking a family member or friend to check up on your house while you are gone. General home safety and maintenance concerns are a nonissue for Meth-Wick residents. Our private campus is guarded by 24-hour security staff and yards are maintained by our groundskeepers.

  1. Secure your valuables.

Consider purchasing clothes for your trip outfitted with lots of inside pockets for you to discreetly store money, credit cards and passports on your person. When you’ve reached your hotel, familiarize yourself with the safe in your room and keep your valuables inside, rather than sitting on the bed or a desk. Don’t put the “Clean My Room” sign on your door when you leave, as it alerts potential thieves that you aren’t in the room. Call down to the front desk when you leave to let the staff know they can begin cleaning.

  1. Don’t ignore your stomach.

Although it’s hard to admit, you’re not 25 anymore. Gone are the days where you could eat a gallon of spicy salsa and a whole pizza then wake up the next day ready for adventure. Trying new foods is half the fun of traveling but don’t disregard any dietary restrictions you might have. It’ll be hard to say no to that schnitzel, but it beats spending the rest of the day in your hotel bathroom when you could be wandering around a beautiful new city.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.

Older adults are often targets for theft and fraud as they are perceived to be less aware of their surroundings and more likely to carry valuables, like cash and nice cameras. Familiarize yourself with the area and local public transit. It’s easy to grab a bag from the back of your chair or even between your feet. Keep purses and bags in front of you while walking and on your lap while sitting.

Safe travels this holiday season from all of us at Meth-Wick.

Overcoming the stigma of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people and their loved ones every year. There are some genetic factors that may increase a person’s likelihood but for the most part, it can strike anyone and there is no cure, yet.

With such a uncertain outcome, it makes sense why so many people misunderstand the disease and the people it affects. The stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s prevents people experiencing symptoms from seeking medical treatment, developing a support system, benefitting from early diagnosis and treatment, and living the best quality of life possible.

Here’s some tips from the Alzheimer’s Association for overcoming the stigma you and your loved ones may face after diagnosis.

  1. Be open and direct.
    Engage others in discussions about Alzheimer’s disease and the need for prevention, better treatment and an eventual cure. Engage with others like you on message boards.
  2. Communicate the facts.
    Sharing accurate information is key to dispelling misconceptions about the disease. Whether a pamphlet or link to online content, offer information to help people better understand Alzheimer’s disease. Learn the facts about Alzheimer’s and find an education program near you.
  3. Seek support and stay connected.
    It is important to stay engaged in meaningful relationships and activities. Whether family, friends or a support group, a network is critical.
    Contact your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter about an early-stage support group near you.
  4. Don’t be discouraged.
    Denial of the disease by others is not a reflection of you. If people think that Alzheimer’s disease is normal aging, see it as an education opportunity.
    Tips for helping family and friends.
  5. Be a part of the solution.
    As an individual living with the disease, yours is the most powerful voice to help raise awareness, end stigma and advocate for more Alzheimer’s support and research. Learn how you can take action in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Meth-Wick understands the difficult situation families are in when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That’s why we have Arbor Place, assisted living on our campus dedicated solely to residents with memory needs.

The safe and secure facility practices a standard of care that recent research indicates will afford the greatest benefit to people with cognitive losses: provide small groups of people with a quiet, family-style home where they feel safe and are encouraged to take part in wellness and recreation programs that promote quality of life. Arbor Place’s high caregiver-to-resident ratio ensures each resident receives the individualized attention they need.