Jeanina DiVittorio, who recently spoke at a Lunch and Learn at Trinity United Methodist with host HBC Group KW, is Director of Sales and Community Liaison at Grand Oaks, a senior living residence in Washington, DC.
She is passionate about senior living, human relationships, social work and helping families get the best and most relevant information available for their current stage in life. Jeanina is a trove of vital information on the best resources available for all things senior living.
We had a conversation with Jeanina about ways to prepare for senior living.
Question to Jeanina: When does one prepare to move to independent living or senior community living?
Jeanina DiVittorio: Life can change in a day. Therefore, it is advisable to devise a for the future to make a move while you can make all of your own decisions.
QtoJ: When do you plan to downsize or move out of your home?
JD: I advise clients to move to senior living community before they sell their home if possible. Move to your new home, settle in, and then it will be better for cleaning, organizing and decluttering the old home to be prepared for sale. At that time, it can be cleaned and staged for a beautiful walkthrough.
QtoJ: Do you think the stereotype of senior living is changing?
JD: One thing we learned during the pandemic was that living in a community is simply better for longevity and mental health. Even for residents who are considered more introverted, to have the opportunity to sit with others or alone in a dining room where you can see others, talk to others if you like and be in-community is vital for people. Of the many things that the pandemic taught us, isolation is so hard on everyone, especially seniors.
QtoJ: What do you say about senior living versus in-home care for seniors?
JD: We make this move to actively remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. With no maintenance living, we can spend our time living and making memories with our loved ones. Senior living offers healthy meals, activities, outings, a driver, a maintenance team and a care team.
Oftentimes, one moves into senior living long after the time to enjoy it. Why not work on all items related to senior living while you still have control over your life and your decisions?
In-home care is different and some seniors prefer this. One challenge with in-home care is loneliness or isolation. For those receiving in-home care, they also need visitors, outings, exercise classes and some structure so that they don’t get isolated. This is tough to create and maintain.
About living longer…
JD: AARP referenced a study about people who interact socially live 7 to 8 years longer than those who do not.
This recent article by the Washington Post says, “If you want to live longer, hang out with your friends”, Washington Post.
QtoJ: What happens to all of One’s antiques and tchotchkes?
JD: One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the gift of organizing and decluttering your home. Keep the things that serve you well and bring you joy.
Research has shown if you use a medium to record your memories made in the home, we are more willing to move. Not all heirs are children. Not everyone has family or children.
One such solution is Artifcts -
https://artifcts.com - What is this platform? “Artifcts is where 'stuff' and stories meet. Here your memories and stuff are united, instantly organized and searchable, downloadable, and shareable or private. You choose. Curate an Artifcts collection that tells your story.”
A home full of collected things may be too painful or exhausting to go through and therefore may be left for heirs. Artifcts and other resources greatly help to bridge this gap.
There are professionals called move managers and they can greatly help with this process.
From the Aging Life Care Association:
What is Aging Life Care™?
Aging Life Care management, is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, the expertise of Aging Life Care Professionals provides the answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:
More information about this important work found here.
Jeanina DiVittorio can be contacted to offer a recommendation or referral to vetted resources. She is a resource for all things senior living.
Jeanina, again, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us!
About Jeanina and Contact Information:
Jeanina is a friend of neighbor Lizzy Conroy and is Director of Sales and Community Liaison for Grand Oaks, a Senior Living Community in Washington, DC.
Jeanina DiVittorio – Phone 1-202-345-9665
Email - Jdivitt1@jhmi.edu