Resources for Senior Living Cornerstone

A wealth of knowledge.

If you’ve just started looking into CCRCs (continuing care retirement communities) and other options for senior living, the Q&As below offer plenty of good, basic information to help you make an informed decision.

On the other hand, if you’re well down the path to knowing what you want, and you know of resources that could benefit others, please don’t hesitate to share them with us, and we’ll add them in.

Questions on any subject from Cornerstone to senior living to aging to CCRCs to Texarkana? For a prompt answer, just drop us a line.

Independent Living FAQ

If I can stay in my home, why is Independent Living better?

Living alone can be isolating and often results in low social interaction, which can have negative health consequences. In contrast, Cornerstone provides an entire community of friends, meaningful activities and social interactions. If you don’t feel like cooking, you can arrange to have healthy meals (and snacks) made for you and served with panache. And if your family is ever worried about you, our on-site staff are available 24/7.

I don’t want to leave my house because I know it’s the last move I’ll ever make. What do you say to that?

Moving to a retirement community won’t stop you from getting older, but it very likely could extend your life. Maybe you live alone with a small dog, and unless you go to church or to the doctor, some weeks the only person you talk to is the UPS delivery person. Move to an Independent Living apartment at Cornerstone, meet your neighbors at your housewarming party, go to dinner, find out what you have in common, make some plans, and you’re well on your way to new friendships, better health and a healthier outlook – all in one swell foop.

If I can rent a residence in a different Independent Living community – one that’s not part of a CCRC, doesn’t require an entrance fee and has a lower monthly fee, shouldn’t I?

Well, how certain are you that your good health will last indefinitely? Because if you develop medical needs that can’t be met by that money-saving independent living community, you’d soon be on your way to a care center where you’ll pay the market rate, which can be surprisingly high. The monthly cost for Skilled Nursing, for example, averages $5,019 per month* in the area, plus the costs of the move, at a time when your body (and your family) is already stressed. How much is your peace of mind worth?
*Genworth 2017 Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout®, June 2017

Are your fees and deposit competitive? And what’s not covered in the monthly fee?

Our entry deposit and monthly fees are definitely competitive within the Northeast Texas area (and quite low for other parts of the country). The monthly fee covers services, amenities and priority access to discounted health care services. It doesn’t cover extra purchases (e.g., stamps, gifts, hair appointments at the salon, catered dinners for out-of-town guests, etc.). If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or drop us a note and we’ll respond right away.
PS: One last note on your deposit and fees. Check with your tax advisor to see if a portion is tax-deductible as a medical expense.

How do I know when it’s time to make the move?

Some 5-10 years after retirement, we begin to think about a change of lifestyle. In the early years after retiring, many people focus on catching up on things they couldn’t do during their working years, like home maintenance, a new hobby or extended travel. But after a while, thoughts often begin to turn in a different direction. Do any of these ring a bell?

  • You live alone and feel isolated from friends and family.
  • You have face-to-face contact with others less than once a week.
  • You’re depressed and lonely several days each month.
  • You’re weary of tackling home maintenance chores and cooking.
  • You’re bored most of the time.
  • You’re frightened at night and feel vulnerable in your own home.
  • You live surround by younger people who don’t share your interests.

Can my family and friends and grandchildren visit?

Always! Guests are more than welcome to enjoy recreational facilities, dining, amenities and activities with you, as well. They can stay in your home, and we also have guest rooms you can reserve and rent for your family and friends (and prospective residents, of course!).

Will I be able to have a voice in my own community?

Absolutely! We always encourage residents to be participants in our Resident Council. You can actively participate in important decisions that affect activities, outings, dining, programming and more.

Can I bring my dog?

Of course! Pets are family, too! This is a pet-friendly campus, and we welcome cats, dogs, fish and birds upon approval. When you visit, ask about the pet policy and approval process, and put your mind at ease.

I’ve lived in my big house since 1970. It’s full of treasures. I can’t possibly downsize. I’m overwhelmed as it is. I’ll have to just leave it to my children when I die here. I can’t leave.

When you move from that 2,800-square-foot house to your new 800-square-foot apartment, you’re going to feel just one thing: liberated! Yes, there’s some sadness in letting go of certain things, but experience has shown that it quickly fades as you make new friends and get involved in activities in your new community.

I can’t possibly be comfortable in just 600 square feet. Not possible.

The trick is to keep only the things that are sentimental, functional and comfortable. If you fill your new space with things that fulfill all 3 priorities, you won’t be too crowded.

I don’t have time for parties and dinners. I don’t have free time at all.

You won’t, as long as you’re living in a house that saps all your free time. When the house is safely in the bank – and you’re safe and secure in a 600-square-foot apartment where your housekeeping and laundry are done and as many meals you’d like are delivered or available to order at the restaurant and bistro – you’ll have a lot more free time. Think about it. No real estate taxes, no repairs, no lawn care. No dusting, no selling old books on Amazon. All of that’s in the past so you can face forward – and for perhaps the first time in your life, do just what you want to do.

Health Services FAQ

Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing? Where does my loved one belong?

It’s always wise to start with a physician’s exam. After assessments of medical needs and of abilities to accomplish life’s daily activities, our professional team is better able to advise you, as well as provide information, answer questions, and help you determine the best decision for you and your family.

How active and independent are Assisted Living residents?

Very! Many Assisted Living residents are quite independent but simply need assistance with a daily task or two (or more), which typically range from taking medication to bathing, dressing and/or help with meals, housekeeping, transportation, and other everyday routines. A trained, licensed nurse and certified nursing aides are available 24/7 to provide custom-tailored support to help your loved one preserve their active lifestyle filled with family, friends and activities.

Who provides Skilled Nursing at Cornerstone?

Compassionate professional support is provided from licensed medical professionals, including RNs (registered nurses), LPNs (licensed professional nurses), certified nursing aides and certified medication aides. Residents who require intensive therapies to manage well-being and health have custom therapy programs that help preserve their dignity and encourage maximum social interaction.

Who’ll be involved in my Rehabilitation?

Short-term Rehabilitation is for those who need greater care while recovering from a hospital stay, and those recovering from illness, injury, surgery or stroke. Your team will include a doctor, nurse, social worker and dietitian, together with your therapists who’ll provide the care, guide the rehab process, and work in partnership with you and your family members.

Assisted Living FAQ

Do Assisted Living apartments come furnished?

No. They include a kitchenette, private bath and walk-in shower with built-in safety features, and a 24/7 emergency response system. Bring treasured furniture and belongings, or start fresh with all-new pieces to be completely comfortable. In short, you’re free to furnish and decorate the way you wish.

Are there activities to fill the days?

Absolutely! Life-enriching amenities and services abound throughout the community. Each day provides opportunities for growing new friendships through activities, socials and entertainment.

Can I get “out and about”?

Yes! For physicians’ visits and other needs, we offer private transportation services. In addition, there are frequent opportunities for dining, group shopping and entertainment excursions to all kinds of popular venues off campus.

How much does Assisted Living cost? Who pays for it?

In Texarkana, Assisted Living is figured monthly and can range from $2,500 to $5,500*, depending on the care received and the apartment chosen. Care is usually paid for by the resident, but can be partially offset by veterans’ benefits and/or long-term insurance, depending on the policy.
*Genworth 2017 Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout®, June 2017

What if my loved one needs more help than Assisted Living can provide?

That’s when the true benefits of life in a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) become evident. In addition to Assisted Living, we provide round-the-clock care for residents in Memory Support, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation. These neighborhoods are usually for those recovering from illness, injury or surgery, or who simply need more long-term supervision or support.

Memory Support FAQ

Is Memory Support significantly different from Assisted Living?

It’s quite different, for several reasons and in several ways. The Memory Support staff are specially trained professionals who work together with the resident and their family to create structure, familiar surroundings and consistent daily schedules. The Memory Support environment must be completely secure and uniquely safe, yet one that stimulates response, promotes purpose and celebrates accomplishments. From dining to activities to staff training, care provided at Cornerstone is designed to meet the needs of each resident with compassion and highly specialized care, recognizing that memory loss – whether from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia – affects not just the resident, but their family, too.

What’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functions (thinking, reasoning, the ability to remember) that are severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. Dementia itself isn’t a disease, though it often accompanies diseases like Alzheimer’s. Dementia is irreversible when caused by disease or certain injuries. It may be partially or fully reversible when caused by drugs, alcohol, depression or imbalances of substances such as hormones or vitamins. In contrast, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. It affects women more than men and is responsible for 60-80% of dementia (WebMD et al.).

How is the Memory Support staffing different?

It may seem odd, but the compassionate staff member who provides Memory Support services is gifted with a certain knack. That is, carefully selected and trained, each Memory Support staff member is, of course, highly person-centered, observant and focused. But beyond that, we look for a warmhearted temperament, together with exceptional patience, gentleness, and a passion for consistently providing dignified and respectful care.

Skilled Nursing FAQ

What’s the difference between long- and short-term Skilled Nursing?

Short-term Skilled Nursing can range from days to even months and refers to treatment that often incorporates Rehabilitation services. It may follow a hospital stay or surgical procedure, or result from the need for IV antibiotics or a transition from intense hospital care to a slightly lower level of nursing care. Long-term Skilled Nursing, in contrast, is for the prolonged treatment of acute illness.

How do I know if my loved one needs short-term Skilled Nursing?

Short-term Skilled Nursing – aka, Rehabilitation – most often occurs after a hospital stay, after surgery, if a resident needs IV antibiotic therapy, or to transition from intense hospital care to a slightly lower level of nursing care. In these cases, it isn’t uncommon for residents to eventually transition back to their home with Home Health care or to an assisted living community.

What staff members are on the Cornerstone Skilled Nursing staff?

Staff members include RNs (registered nurses), nurse practitioners, a full-time Life Enrichment coordinator, a consultant dietitian and a variety of certified specialists. Skilled Nursing, both long- and short-term, is provided on site at the Clara Mae & Bob Cheatham Health Care Center.

What does Skilled Nursing cost? Who pays for it?

Skilled Nursing is charged by the day, and in Texarkana, daily rates range from $137 to $165*, depending on the care provided and room selected. Services are usually paid for by one or a combination of Medicare, Medicaid, supplementary insurance(s), veterans benefits and long-term insurance (depending on the policy).
*Genworth 2017 Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout®, June 2017

Rehabilitation FAQ

How often is therapy recommended?

Based on medical certification by a physician, treatment plans are individualized to address each rehabilitation need and specific condition. After admission, the therapy team meets to review the treatment plan and recommend an appropriate service schedule. A healthy, postoperative 64-year-old woman might require an hour each of physical and occupational therapy, 5 times per week for 3 weeks. A less-healthy 88-year-old man recovering from the same surgery might recover much more slowly, and a lighter, longer schedule may be more appropriate. The therapy team works quite closely with the single most important team member: the resident.

Who’s involved in a resident’s care?

Each team starts with the resident and includes a doctor, nurse, dietitian, social worker, family members (as the resident is able and willing to approve), plus the therapists who’ll direct and provide care, partner with the resident and work with the family members.

Who pays for short-term Rehab?

Insurance options for long-term and short-term care can be confusing. It’s important to review your Rehab plan carefully to determine what your private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid will cover, and what portion you’ll be billed for. If you’re having trouble navigating your plan and coverages, Cornerstone case managers are here to help.

What’s occupational therapy?

Whereas both occupational and physical therapy work to restore strength and mobility, occupational therapy focuses on helping adapt to the resident’s social and physical environment. This typically includes training or retraining the resident on how to dress, bathe, eat and groom; memory, orientation and cognitive integration; and on maintaining normal joint movement to reduce the effects of arthritis or other conditions.

What does speech therapy include?

With aging, 2 major medical concerns that can emerge are eating challenges and swallowing dysfunction, the former caused or exacerbated by poor teeth or dentures, the latter by post-intubation trauma. Our skilled speech and language pathologists create treatment plans that address each resident’s specific abilities, provide precise exercises and other tactics and, when appropriate, offer diet recommendations in support of the treatment plan medical recommendations.

Home Health FAQ

Does a Home Health nurse have all the same certifications as a nurse on the Skilled Nursing staff at Cornerstone?

Yes. In fact, whereas a Cornerstone Skilled Nursing staff member isn’t technically required to maintain a current Texas driver’s license, a Home Health nurse must meet this additional requirement.

What does an in-home professional caregiver do?

You can expect help with most of the caregiving tasks that make everyday life easier. That includes medication reminders, help with daily activities, light housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing and grooming, help with mobility, and transportation for shopping, doctors’ appointments and errands.