10.31.10

Adventurous Retirement Living

Posted in Retirement, Senior Citizen at 6:52 pm by admin

What is your image of modern elderly care? Do you see a bland, yellow dining room full of seniors eating meatloaf while watching reruns of The Golden Girls? Because if you do, you need to get current. Those are yesteryear’s stereotypes. Today, seniors who live in assisted living or retirement communities can live rich, full lives doing things they have always done, or better still: doing things they have always wanted to do but never could.

Case in point: Everyone has heard of golf retirement communities. They have been made famous in FL Assisted Living facilities and Arizona retirement communities. The idea here is simple. Many seniors–especially senior men love to golf. So instead of playing dominoes with the 87 year old in 32-B who always stays in his bathrobe, why not hit the greens with other active seniors? The idea has caught on so well that you can find golfing retirement communities all over the united states today.
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But golf communities were only the beginning. Today, innovative assisted living and retirement community planners have put fun and adventure back where it ought to be: on the front of the brochure. Their communities focus on giving senior residents some excitement in their golden years. They want to help make retirement a time that is full of joy. I want to give you a glimpse at what some are doing. We’ll start with the simplest and most obvious:

Seaside Retirement

Imagine retiring on the beach! This is not just an option for sunbathers. Seniors are increasingly getting out and enjoying the sun and beaches, whether in swimming, jet skiing, boating, or simply playing tennis in the ocean breeze. There is something about the sea that brings out the freshness and adventure in life. Seaside retirement communities and assisted living homes are especially popular in California and Florida.

Ski Retirement Communities

For seniors who love the mountains and don’t mind the cold, there are a growing number of retirement communities that are built around or next to ski resorts, and they cater to the skiing types. Of course, not everyone who lives in these places does ski. Some just enjoy the environment. Mountains are, in themselves, adventurous. They bring out the excitement for hiking, exploring, and photography.

Vineyard Living

Here is one brand of retirement living that has not yet fully caught on the U.S., but is quite popular in other places like Australia and Europe. Vineyards, and the vineyard lifestyle, are luxurious, but in an exotic way. To live at a vineyard, and be able to sample the fruits of the land… well, that is something that many baby boomers dream of! We wrote about one of these facilities near San Antonio, TX, where there are frequent outdoor wine and cheese events in a gorgeous outdoor poolside setting, complete with live music. How can you beat that?

Mobile Retirement

Okay, granted. This is not the same as formal Assisted Living. But many seniors who love the adventure of being on the road opt for getting a nice recreational vehicle and hitting the road. Leisure RV sites are popping up all over the U.S., as more and more people are trying to conserve money by taking the camper on vacation. But this lifestyle fits many seniors, whether they do it on the cheap, or with a two-hundred thousand dollar luxury motor home. It allows them to sample many sites around the country, while staying in the weather they most enjoy all year round. For those who love change, this can be the ultimate in adventure retirement.

Mobile Volunteer Retirement

Finally, some seniors will find fulfillment and adventure only when they are plugging into a worthwhile cause. There are vibrant networks of senior volunteers whose lifestyle involves taking their RV to a place where they can use their skills to help out on a part time basis. This is a popular option in Christian circles especially. For example, a career carpenter who retires takes his RV to a Christian retreat center. He joins the community for three months out of the year, helping out on various building projects for a few hours a day, and enjoying the clean country air with his wife for the rest of the day.

This is just a sampling, of course. Every year, there are more and more creative ways for seniors to actively live out their golden years.

Top 5 Convenience Built-ins for Seniors Who Have Arthritis

Posted in care at home, Elder Care, Elderly Care at 12:40 am by admin

Are you concerned about the health and safety of your loved one at home? Have you considered updating the home to make it more suitable and safer? Consider a few innovative design features that will greatly improve safety and make the home more accessible. These features empower many seniors who experience physical limitations to remain independent and comfortable in their own homes. Here are our top five favorite design features for seniors who have arthritis:

1. Motion sensor lights
These movement-activated lights should be installed not only outside to light the way between the car and the front door, but also in key interior places. These lights can prevent dangerous falls when installed on stairways, in closets, and in hallways.

2. Motion sensor faucets
These faucets are becoming common place in most public restrooms as a more hygienic way to wash, but for anyone with limited dexterity or arthritis pain, these faucets are far better than fighting with hard-to-turn knobs. Plus, these faucets are temperature controlled eliminating the potential for scalding that traditional faucets hold. Grandkids and Grandpa alike will appreciate the ease of keeping their hands clean with this innovative feature brought into the home.
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3. Remote controlled cabinet locks
With so many grandparents helping to care for their grandchildren, many seniors are finding themselves caught between wanting to keep medicines and cleaning agents out of reach and needing to be able to access them easily. These remote controlled cabinet locks can protect grandkids, without the hassle of fumbling with plastic cabinet locks, an impossibility with arthritis. Remote switches can be installed up high out of reach of children, but where an adult can reach them easily.

4. Bathroom close to the entryway
Many falls occur when seniors are rushing to make it to the bathroom on time. Installing a bathroom near the most-used entrance can greatly reduce these risks.

5. Track gliding drawers
Installing track gliding drawers and shelves in the kitchen and bathroom that open easily eliminates the need for bending and reaching to the back of cupboards. Easy-to-grasp handles and drawer pulls are also an easy improvement that will make life easier and the kitchen and bathroom more accessible.

From an elderly care standpoint, any of these 5 features will greatly improve the home setting for a senior with arthritis or limited dexterity. For many, making your home your castle simply means making your home open, accessible, and comfortable for all who live in it!

10.30.10

Choosing a Caregiver

Posted in Adult Day Care at 11:39 pm by admin

In a perfect world, our loved ones would not need elderly care. Every senior could stay at home and “age in place.” Our moms and dads would have no need for any other person to be in their lives to help them dress, to help them bathe, or to simply sit down in a chair.

But this is not a perfect world.

Many seniors and their families will find it beneficial to locate an assisted living center or full time nursing care. But many seniors have no desire to leave their homes. Unless you or your family members are able to care for them personally, you are left with one choice: let them live by themselves, where they cannot fully take care of themselves, or hire a caregiver.

Caregiving is becoming a popular career, not only for registered nurses and elder care staff, but for people with basic credentials, and a desire to help. There are national and local search databases, including the one at the top of this page, where you can find home care. But how do you sort out who is the right fit for your loved one? Here are a few things to consider:

Four Quick Tips to Choosing a Caregiver

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1) Background checks are available and essential. You wouldn’t leave your children with a babysitter you don’t know anything about would you? Neither should you leave your parents with a stranger. Thankfully, caregiving referral services take this seriously. You should too. Make sure you know who you are dealing with. If your prospect does not come from an agency, make sure your get plenty of references, and you have a background check done.

2) There are plenty of people who will be “qualified,” so make sure the one you choose is also a good fit for your parent. What does that mean? That means personality. It means caring. Your parent’s caregiver ought to be someone who can “mesh” well with your parent. No, they don’t have to share favorite movies (although that would help, wouldn’t it?). They will be from different generations, so the chances that they will be best friends are slim. But they need to be at least relationally compatible. So as you interview prospects, and you find your dad saying “I don’t like him,” do not be too quick to discount that reaction. Yes, he might just be acting stubborn about the process, but it could also be a bad omen.

3) If your parent has Alzheimers (or even if they don’t) make sure the caregiver shows some interest in them personally. Watch for the little things. Do they seem at all uncomfortable with the things that come with the disease, or do they seem understanding? Make sure you see some indication in their references about their level of patience. This may be the most important character trait in this case.

4) Spell things out. In other words, make it all clear. Your expectations can not afford to be foggy. If your parent needs help with bathing and toileting, be sure to say so. If there are going to be odd hours, tell them on the outset. And if they seem unable to be flexible, that might be a good “red flag” to tell you they might not be a good fit. But the point is, eveyone’s life will be much, much easier if they are on the same page.

Can any person take care of your parent as well as you? Maybe not. But there are many people who can do a wonderful job, and who will become a trusted friend of your parent’s if given the opportunity. So take your time. Watch for the little things. And make sure there is some rapport between them. Do those things, and you should be on your way.

The Holistic Approach to Senior Care

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Senior Citizen, Texas Elderly Care Services at 5:41 pm by admin

As we documented last time, in recent years, new senior service organizations have increased dramatically. As the national population reaches retirement age in higher percentages, the number and specificity of these elderly care service organizations has increased as well to provide more comprehensive care for our nation’s elderly. The scope of services offered has widened to include broader-spectrum care for seniors. For example, home-bound seniors now may receive services including everything from in-home nursing and medical care to comprehensive volunteer services such as home maintenance, meal and grocery delivery, and social calls.

A More Holistic Approach to Senior Care

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The shift to a holistic approach to medical care and illness prevention has made a huge impact on the variety of service organizations that are being formed. Senior care has expanded from a physical needs-based field, to one that includes mental, emotional, social, and spiritual care. Organizations are recognizing the need to include opportunities for seniors to build community and maintain social relationships. All of these pieces are vital to maintaining and improving seniors’ over-all health.

Many senior citizen service organizations are forming networks to more effectively address the wide range of needs our seniors may have. For example, the Aging Services Council of Central Texas is a network of businesses, faith-based, nonprofit, and public service providers hoping to offer better services to the seniors of Central Texas and raise more awareness and finances to provide support the growing senior population. The hope is that more senior citizen service organizations across the nation will see the effectiveness of coordinating and networking together to provide more fully for the needs of seniors.

Depending on where you live, getting connected with the appropriate senior citizen service organizations may take some legwork, but you best bet is to start asking questions. Ask your doctor, your church, your TX Assisted Living center, or your senior center and check out the senior citizen service organizations in your area by searching on-line. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Whether you are home-bound or still active, there may be a service organization out there that could greatly enrich as well as prolong your life.

Simple Voting Tips for Seniors

Posted in Elder Care, elderly and education at 10:53 am by admin

It has been 10 years now sinc ethe infamous “hanging chad” election of 2000. Hard to believe. And with rumors of voter fraud already on the wire, seniors around the United States are on watch, and some are concerned that their votes will not be counted becsause of a glitch in the system. This is not some problem that is limited to Florida seniors, either. It is one which concerns elderly Americans all over the nation–the largest voting blog in the entire population.

So what can you do to make sure your voice is heard? There are a couple of things.
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1) Early voting. This is an optio nin many states now, especially in mid-term elections. Some states do not open their polling places in rural areas, opting instead to send out ballots in the mail. If you get one of these ballots, read the instructions very carefully. They might ask you to draw a line between two black dots next to the candidate of your choice. This is strictly for the computers, which will see the line and count it for your candidate. Do not worry about the “butterfly ballot effect.” That is a one time mistake that received too much publicity to be repeated.

Once you fill out the mail in ballot, if you are unsure of yourself, as many seniors are, because of their eyesight, simply ask someone you trust to look over it and make sure you did everything correctly. Don’t worry, there is nothing against the law about that.

2) If you are voting at a public voting place, take your time. Don’t worry about the lines of people behind you. They will get their turn.

Your ballot may be a traditional paper ballot, or it may be a computer ballot. Don’t worry if it is a computer. There are good systems in place to be sure your vote is properly counted. In fact, computers count far better than humans, anyway. So relax and read the instructions.

Once you have read through the instructions, remember that you can ask quesitons to voting officials. That is what they are there for. If you are unsure of the instructions, or want to make sure you are picking the candidate that you are trying to vote for, ask for their confirmation, and they will gladly assist you.

Our voting system is not perfect, as we saw in 2000 and in every other election this country has ever seen. But those glitches are the exception. Over all, we have a tremendous system in this nation, and one which will not disenfranchise anyone who is careful to read the instrctions and ask for help. If more people had done this in the beginning, maybe we would never have needed to retool the entire process.

Senioirs in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, or any other part of the state can find Assisted Living and Independent Living facilities by using the box at the top of this page, or by clicking here.

10.29.10

Senior Citizen Service Organizations Are on the Rise

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, elderly and education, Senior Citizen, Texas Elderly Care Services at 11:20 pm by admin

As Baby Boomers reach 65, more national resources and attention are being shifted to care and prepare for this huge demographic as they enter their senior years. More senior citizen service organizations are arising than ever before, and many senior care organizations are teaming up and creating networks to provide more comprehensive care and easier accessibility to seniors.

Many organizations are expanding their volunteer networks to more fully meet needs of senior citizens all over the United States. Remember Meals on Wheels? This volunteer service has been providing meals for home-bound seniors for over 50 years in the United States. Now the Meals on Wheels organization has expanded in some cities to include minor or major home repairs, dementia and Alzheimer’s respite care, rural service, grocery delivery, care calls, congregate meals, and even pet care!
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Many senior citizen organizations are recognizing the need for specialized services to effectively meet the varied needs of senior citizens. Organizations devoted to Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia care have increased rapidly as the incidence of these illnesses has increased.

Rising costs of nursing home care have lead to the creation of hundreds of new in-home nursing care and senior care coordination businesses. These organizations provide or coordinate and network to provide regular in-home nursing care, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Most of these businesses will design a unique schedule and services suitable to each client’s needs.

Texas Senior citizens are enjoying more individualized care and services than ever before, but with the looming increases in the senior population combined with tight finances, these senior citizen service organizations are facing a serious dillema. How do we provide services to every senior who needs them and who may not be able to afford them? For many senior citizen care organizations, their solution is to band together, form wider networks, broaden their volunteer base, and appeal to American citizens to give generously to non-profit volunteer organizations whose focus is senior care.

The existing senior citizen service organizations are to be commended. The services they are providing are making a huge difference in the lives of many of our seniors, greatly contributing to a better quality of life and care. The best thing seniors and their loved ones can do is get connected to a network in their area and discover just what services are available to them. Information is readily available at your local senior center or TX Assisted Living facility.

Volunteer Services Available to Seniors in Austin, Texas

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Texas Elderly Care Services at 5:16 pm by admin

Many of Austin’s seniors benefit from the volunteer services offered to the Austin metro area by various non-profit organizations. Two of these organizations offer a wide range of services to Austin seniors.

Faith in Action Caregivers

Many Texas seniors rely heavily on family and friends to provide transportation to and from the doctor’s office, or help with fix-it projects around the house, but sometimes family isn’t available, or seniors would rather not burden them with repair chores. Enter Faith in Action Caregivers. These volunteers serve seniors in the Austin area by providing transportation, minor home repairs, assistance, friendship, information, and referrals. The goal of their services it to help seniors stay as independent as possible. Need a wheel chair, walker, or shower seat for a little while? Faith in Action also runs a Medical Loan Closet providing on-loan medical equipment to Austin Seniors.
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Meals on Wheels and More

Besides offering the incredible service of delivering meals to clients’ homes, Austin volunteers bring life and hope to many home-bound Austin seniors through their extension services. Short on grocery money this month? Volunteers can deliver an extra bag of groceries to your door. Need a friend to chat with on the phone? Caring “phone friends” are just a phone call away.

Many home-bound seniors take comfort in having a pet around the house to keep them company. Have a pet you’re concerned about? Volunteers can deliver pet food as well as connect you with P.A.L.S., free veterinary services offered during their Annual Pet Wellness Fairs.

For clients with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia, Mike’s Place provides a warm, safe place to socialize and get out of the house every Wednesday and the second Saturday of the month. This service offers caregivers a much-needed break and seniors a chance to engage and meet new friends.

Need a new grab bar installed to make your bathroom a safer place for unsteady feet? Meals on Wheels clients rely on volunteers who are part of their Handy Wheels program and provide safe-related minor repairs.

For low income homeowners with more serious home repair needs, Meals on Wheels and More (MOWAM) has started a new program, Home Repair and Architectural Barrier Removal. This program intends to provide services to eligible clients whose homes have serious structural issues which pose health and safety risks. Over a dozen Austin seniors have received much needed repairs to support beams, roofs, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Need a ride to the doctor’s office? A grocery go-getter? More than one meal a day? A place to meet other seniors to eat together, play games, and join in physical activities? Meals on Wheels and More volunteers can help.

For more information on elderly care services, click here.

10.28.10

Senior Fitness in Texas

Posted in Elder Care, elderly and education, Elderly Care, exercises, Uncategorized at 5:19 pm by admin

Physicians, psychologists, scientists all agree: regular exercise is essential for excellent physical and mental health whether you are 5 or 95. Many Texas seniors struggle with the fact that their physical abilities and strength are rapidly fading with each passing year, but regular exercise, healthy diet, a comprehensive wellness program, and medical guidance can not only maintain but improve overall health dramatically. Medicine has shifted strongly from traditional corrective and repair measures toward illness-prevention tactics and wellness maintenance. Senior fitness plays a key role in this shift.

The number of fitness businesses and programs that have been started up in the past ten years is astronomical, yet many Texas seniors are still unaware of the many exercise options available to them. More frequently now, even smaller towns may boast a Gold’s Gym, Curves, or Bally Total Fitness just around the corner. Many of these franchises are carving out a niche that appeals to the growing numbers of Baby Boomers: senior-specific exercise classes, morning hours with gentler music appealing to more mature ears. Seniors-only fitness centers are cropping up all across the nation as well offering tai chi, gentle yoga, pilates, a more welcoming atmosphere, and the conversation and companionship of fellow health enthusiasts of a similar age.
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More and more personal trainers are working with an increasingly older population who are concerned about not only maintaining their current level of fitness, but also improving overall health and strength. Personal trainers provide one-on-one instruction unique to each client’s needs and abilities, paving a suitable and optimal workout. Personal trainers may also discuss essential nutrition and healthy diet. All seniors should check with their doctor before beginning an excise and diet regime.

Texercise is a program of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) that provides nutrition and health maintenance information. Texercise also links Texas seniors to health and fitness events and programs in their area specifically designed for them. Many Texas communities offer senior fitness programs such as Body Recall and Silver Sneakers, providing gentle exercise for seniors of varying abilities and strengths.

Texas seniors are finding community and comradery while maintaining and improving their health by forming running or walking groups, taking senior community classes such as water aerobics, ballroom dancing, tai chi, yoga, and pilates. For those Texas seniors who prefer to exercise without feeling like they’re exercising, participating regularly in an enjoyable active hobby such as golfing or gardening can provide great health benefits as well. Whether the goal is to improve posture, avoid falls, lower cholesterol, prevent osteoporosis, or alleviate joint pain, Texas seniors are taking their doctor’s advice about the importance of regular exercise seriously and becoming proactive about their health and wellness.

Fortunately, many assisted living residents have fitness programs or special exercise rooms for seniors to get in shape. Some retirement communities have an entire fitness center right there on location. You can search for senior homes to find these amenities, from Washington independent living to Assisted Living FL by entering your information in the box provided.

10.26.10

Volunteering Ideas for Dallas Seniors

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, elderly and education, Elderly Care, Retirement at 10:30 pm by admin

Seniors in the Dallas Fort Worth area have a lot of things going for them. There are a plethora of terrific assisted living and retirement homes at their fingertips, they have a warm climate, and about a million and a half fun ways to occupy their time. But for some seniors, this is not enough. Retirement is a wonderful time in their lives, but they feel like a piece of them is missing: the piece that worked so hard for all those years. It was difficult, and it was exhausting, but it was sure rewarding! And as much fun as golf and shopping are, they simply can’t replace that sense of accomplishment.

Fortunately, volunteering can more than fill that void. Many seniors find that serving their communities is even more satisfying than their career was. Why? Because when you are volunteering, you are working for the benefit of other people. And when those people find victories in their lives, the volunteer feels that victory as well. Indeed, there is no feeling like the one that you get when you know you were truly able to help someone.

So, for all those Dallas / Fort Worth area seniors who are not sure what to do with themselves, I want to present a short list of possible volunteer opportunities. I hope you will visit their sites or call their phone numbers for more information.

Unique Volunteering Ideas for Dallas Seniors

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  • Be a tutor for an elementary school student.
    A group called “Off Our Rockers” specializes in mentoring and tutoring young students from kindergarten to third grade. They do not require any special skills from their volunteers. The only requirement is that they be over fifty years old, and love children! They can either help them with their studies or mentor them by just being with them and hanging out. In 2009, this group tutored more than five hundred elementary school students! Volunteers complete a training session before being connected with a student at a school near their home. It’s a great program! Call 214.823.5700
  • Boomer Green Team.
    This group enjoys getting together and working toward the betterment of the environment including recycling, water conservation and quality, energy conservation, community gardens, clean air. They have a variety of projects in the coming months around the Dallas metroplex. Call 214-525-6134 for more information
  • Foster Grandparent
    This is a program designed for low income seniors who want to offer not only a helping hand but a helping heart. These seniors have a chance to become family to a child that desperately needs family. Some of the children have physical ailments. Some have been affected by drug abuse and homelessness. But all of them need somebody in their lives who will care for them regardless of the circumstance. Senior volunteers, then, get a chance to spend lots of time with these children, and fill a massive void. They will spend between 15 and 40 hours per week with the children, and will have an opportunity to help them in school work and life in general. A stipend is available for volunteers who help out in this program. If you are interested, please call 214.823.5700.

There are plenty of other opportunities around the metroplex. Here are some quick hits:

  • Christmas stocking projects
  • Handy projects for other seniors in their homes
  • Working at the Texas State Fair
  • Becoming a guide at a museum
  • Making blankets and small gifts for Dallas hospital patients (and their newborns!)

Most of these volunteering projects in Dallas will be somehow linked with a group called “Retired & Senior Volunteer Program,” or R.S.V.P. They are linked with dozens and dozens of projects and services around Dallas and Fort Worth. If you have questions, or if you want more information regarding how to lend your talents and passions to those who need it most in the Dallas metroplex, visit this website.

At any rate, you can be sure of one thing: just like Dallas has a million restaurants, it has a million ways for you to help other people, no matter what your age and abilities. Because Dallas is a city where people enjoy being a part of one another’s lives. So whether you are living at home, or in a retirement or assisted living facility in the city, you can be a help! Call the good folks at RSVP, or visit their site to find out about more opportunities near you!

10.23.10

Three Common Fears of Assisted Living

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, Elderly Care at 12:40 pm by admin

As seniors face the possibilities of moving into an elder care facility, there are some common concerns that immediately jump to the forefront. These often become reasons for them not to pursue assisted living at all. Let’s explore a few of them.

Three Common Fears of Assisted Living

1) “I would be lonely in an assisted living facility.”
This fear is born mostly out of what people have seen in many nursing homes: seniors who are forgotten, and who have to spend their days in a boring common room full of people knitting and watching daytime television. But this is not an accurate portrayal of most assisted living facilities. Why? Because today’s assisted living communities are designed for social activity. Residents have their own space to live, but they eat together and spend time together doing all sorts of planned activities. Family and friends are welcome to visit, of course, but there will also be excellent interaction between residents. In other words, this fear is easily dispelled, because friends are right there, all around.
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2) “I can’t afford to pay for assisted living.”
When you look at a price tag for assisted living, it is easy to be persuaded that you cannot afford it. Most facilities can cost between $2500 to $3500 per month. This is a lot of money to be sure, but when you stop and think of all that is included, you will soon realize that the cost is not overbearing. The cost will include all of your meals, your utilities, your garbage service, and lots of other services. In addition, many of the costs you have now will no longer be necessary, such as home insurance and mortgage payments. So if you are selling your home especially, these costs are much more doable than many think.

3) “I need my family in order to be safe.”
This is a natural feeling, but is it true? If you are in an elder care facility, you are surrounded by residents and caregivers who understand how to deal with medical problems and routine accidents. In other words, you will not be abandoned. And if something does happen, help can arrive in seconds.

If you want to find Assisted Living TX, enter your information in the box above, check the type of care you need, and start your search.

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