Verena at the Reserve team members host vaccination clinic onsite for residents

Verena at the Reserve Receives COVID-19 Vaccines

The health and safety of the residents and team members at Verena at the Reserve is our top priority, and we are taking additional measures, beyond the requirements of government and health authorities, to protect everyone in the community.

Verena at the Reserve retirement community receives vaccines, with help from The Prescription Shoppe

By MAGGIE MORE
VIRGINIA GAZETTE |
FEB 05, 2021 AT 6:20 PM

Jade Ranger, pharmacist and co-owner of the Prescription Shoppe, explains the vaccination process to residents of Verena at the Reserve, a retirement community in Williamsburg. Maggie More/staff
Jade Ranger, pharmacist and co-owner of the Prescription Shoppe, explains the vaccination process to residents of Verena at the Reserve, a retirement community in Williamsburg. Maggie More/staff (Virginia Gazette)

On a cold and damp Friday afternoon, a balloon arch curved over the entryway to the main the dining room at the Verena at the Reserve Retirement Community. The tables were filled with senior citizens chatting amongst themselves at spaced-out tables, and employees bustled back and forth between them, sporting plastic tiaras as they wiped down tables.

The reason for the happy atmosphere, despite the somber weather, could be seen on a plastic utility cart, wheeled around by The Prescription Shoppe’s Jade Ranger — syringes full of Moderna vaccine, set to go into arms over the course of the following two hours.

For many of the 146 residents living full time at Verena — around 96% of the capacity of the independent living facility in Williamsburg, Virginia — this was their first chance to get the vaccine. According to Mark Booth, director of sales and marketing for the retirement community, a few residents had already been vaccinated through their primary care physicians and a few had opted out because of medical concerns after advice from their doctors. But everybody was notified, Booth said, and the majority of residents opted in.

Marty Lott, age 83, said she was “excited” to get the vaccine, though as a former nurse, she had “many unanswered questions.”

“That’s kind of dangerous,” she joked about the knowledge she gained from her former profession.

Though the new approach used by the COVID-19 vaccines — which utilize mRNA from the virus to train the human body’s immune response rather than dead or weakened COVID-19 cells as most vaccines do — was not as “tried and true” as the vaccines Lott was familiar with, prompting her questions for Jade Ranger, she felt that the “amazing” development could be the future of vaccines.

“I have nothing but kudos to Denise,” Lott said of the community’s executive director, Denise Harper’s, efforts as she waited for her injection with her friend, Marion Brooks, age 87. When the time came, they both received their vaccination with ease.

Eighty-three-year-old resident Marty Lott gets vaccinated by Jade Ranger, co-owner of the prescription shoppe. Lott is a retired nurse, which she jokes is “kind of dangerous” due to the number of questions she has about the vaccine. Maggie More/staff
Eighty-three-year-old resident Marty Lott gets vaccinated by Jade Ranger, co-owner of the prescription shoppe. Lott is a retired nurse, which she jokes is “kind of dangerous” due to the number of questions she has about the vaccine. Maggie More/staff (Virginia Gazette)

The residents of Verena have been waiting for their vaccine for the same long months as the rest of the Historic Triangle, perhaps more anxiously than most due to their age and vulnerability to the deadly COVID-19 virus. Now, thanks to the joint efforts of Verena, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Prescription Shoppe, many of the residents got their first dose Friday.

The vaccination event “brings safety and security for the residents,” Booth said.

“I’m so thrilled,” said Harper. She worked closely with The Prescription Shoppe, a local pharmacy that has been distributing COVID vaccines to the area since mid-January, to make the event happen.

According to Harper, Verena has worked closely with The Prescription Shoppe in the past, holding similar drives in-residence for the annual flu vaccine. Around December, she reached out to Henry Ranger, who co-owns the local pharmacy with his wife Jade, to see if it would be possible to host an event for the COVID vaccine.

At the time, Henry Ranger was unsure when they would get the vaccine or how many doses they would receive. But as supply began to increase, he began to fill out the necessary forms and reached out to the necessary health departments to get the ball rolling. According to Jade Ranger, the health department has been creating spreadsheets of long-term care facilities, asking pharmacies to step in with local distribution.

That local outreach is something that Jade Ranger and her husband have done for years as pharmacists. In 2011, when he worked at Farm Fresh, Jade Ranger said, her husband began calling senior living facilities to bring other necessary vaccines to them, for elderly residents who might have limited mobility. They did the same thing when they were pharmacists at Wal-Mart, and “now, we’re doing it with The Prescription Shoppe.”

Residents of Verena decorated small signs with their reason for getting vaccinated on Feb. 5. The Prescription Shoppe worked with the Virginia Department of Health and Denise Harper, Verena’s executive director, to set up the vaccination event at the retirement community. Maggie More/staff
Residents of Verena decorated small signs with their reason for getting vaccinated on Feb. 5. The Prescription Shoppe worked with the Virginia Department of Health and Denise Harper, Verena’s executive director, to set up the vaccination event at the retirement community. Maggie More/staff (Virginia Gazette)

Hosting events like this for the COVID-19 vaccine was a natural extension of that same idea, and they plan to do similar events for other long-term care facilities in the future, if possible.

Those efforts paid off, Harper said. When she reached out to the Peninsula Health Department on her end to see if The Prescription Shoppe could get vaccines for Verena residents, the representative was aware of the work the Rangers put into distributing their Moderna doses.

Harper believes that The Prescription Shoppe’s efforts were the “driving force” in making the event happen.

The pharmacy was given 200 doses of Moderna vaccine specifically for the event. Jade Ranger stressed that those vaccines are distributed by the health department on a separate basis from the doses most people in Phase 1B can hope to receive, and that there are still limited vaccines for everyone else. It’s part of the state’s distribution plan — long-term care facilities, with their extremely vulnerable residents, have a partnership with the VDH to ensure they get enough of the still-scarce vaccine.

Paramedics and nurses were on site in case of reactions, and each resident waited for an extra 15 minutes after their injection to ensure there were no adverse effects from the vaccination.

Jade Ranger also listed off information about the vaccines for each socially distanced, masked-up group of residents who entered the dining area. Most people’s worst side effect is a sore arm for a few days, though some people can feel under the weather for two to three days afterwards.

“Stay hydrated, get rest and you can take Tylenol as a last resort,” she said, standing in front of the balloon arch before making her way to each resident with gloves, syringes and Band-Aids.

Samuel Cohen, 91, gets his Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Asked if he was excited to get vaccinated, he said “It’s not the highlight of my week, but yeah.” He and his wife, Dot, live in Verena together, and have kept each other company while the pandemic limited how much they could go out. Maggie More/staff
Samuel Cohen, 91, gets his Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Asked if he was excited to get vaccinated, he said “It’s not the highlight of my week, but yeah.” He and his wife, Dot, live in Verena together, and have kept each other company while the pandemic limited how much they could go out. Maggie More/staff (Virginia Gazette)

Some residents were relatively underwhelmed by the event. Asked if he was excited to finally get the COVID-19 vaccine, Samuel Cohen, age 91, said “It’s not the highlight of my week, but yeah.”

He explained that the pandemic hasn’t been as hard for him “as it must be on a lot of people,” because he was lucky enough to have his wife, Dot Cohen, living with him in Verena.

Dot Cohen was more excited about the vaccine, and said “they promised it would preserve my extreme good looks,” adding that she was happy to get the injection “over with.”

The first thing Samuel Cohen planned to do, once he was fully immunized?

Dot Cohen decorated her sign explaining why she got vaccinated on Feb. 5. Her husband Samuel joked “She wrote a book.” Maggie More/staff
Dot Cohen decorated her sign explaining why she got vaccinated on Feb. 5. Her husband Samuel joked “She wrote a book.” Maggie More/staff (Virginia Gazette)

“Go back to my apartment,” he said. Other residents were more excited that things seem to be taking a turn for the normal.

Brooks said that she was looking forward to getting to go outside again, once she received her second dose and the world becomes safer. Her children had been telling her to stay inside for months, she said, to the point that she’s been waiting for any reason to leave her apartment.

“I’ve been excited to get blood work done, because they’ll take me for a short ride after,” she said, laughing with her friend Lott.
Ruth Evans, 88 and resident at Verena for five years, said she would “do what she has to” for her six children, who want her to stay safe.

“Hopefully, everybody can get well, and the world will turn around,” she said simply. “It’s a big job.”

Maggie More, 757-446-2305, mmore@virginiamedia.com

Original Source: https://www.dailypress.com/virginiagazette/va-vg-verena-vaccine-prescription-shoppe-20210205-ealfes4un5bkbexjn2mfmn3ddm-story.html

running against the clock to save enough money for retirement

How to Save for Retirement – 6 Great Tips

Just because you haven’t saved for senior living doesn’t mean you can’t afford it. Here are 6 tips to bolster your savings quickly.

6 Quick Tips on Saving for Retirement

Are you nearing retirement, but aren’t completely prepared financially? You’re not alone. According to GoBanking, 3 out of 10 baby boomers aged 55 and above have no retirement savings. What’s more, 26 percent of those who were able to put money aside say they have less than $50,000 saved. You may feel this limits your options, particularly for active senior living, but that’s not necessarily the case. Here are some ways you can bolster your savings quickly.  

The Cost of Active Senior Living

You won’t know how much you need to save for retirement unless you know the cost of senior living, so let’s start there. Senior living is an umbrella term which includes several levels of care. Active senior living (or independent living) is the entry point in this continuum, which also includes assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care.

Active senior living is designed for residents who need little daily assistance but seek less responsibility and a range of social and enrichment opportunities. Although there is little published data on senior living average cost because it varies so greatly; it typically ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 a month. Keep in mind this cost includes meals, weekly housekeeping and laundry services, as well as access to a range of activities and amenities such as fitness center and pool.

What Can Affect the Cost of Senior Living

  • Level of Care – Essentially more assistance means more expense. Many seniors opt for a community that offers multiple levels of care on one campus so you’ll pay less now but have the peace of mind that a higher level of care is available if needed.
  • Geography – Where you live affects the cost of senior living just like real estate. To keep costs down you might consider active senior living communities outside the city or even a different state.
  • Amenities – The more luxury, the higher the cost as well. Options that impact cost include type of residence (private, semi-private, studio, one- or two-bedroom), pet fees, concierge services, and private transportation.

Know Where You Stand

You may have more resources at your disposal than you realize to pay for active senior living. Knowing where you stand starts with organizing your financial documents including:

  • Bank and brokerage account information
  • Deeds and mortgage documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Monthly or outstanding bills
  • Pension and other retirement benefits
  • Social Security payment information
  • Stock and bond certificates

Then, consider consulting a financial advisor and/or estate planning attorney to discuss how you might be able to maximize these resources for active senior living:

  • Insurance options including long-term care insurance and/or life insurance conversions
  • Pension, Social Security benefits and personal property such as your home
  • Potential tax deductions
  • Your investment portfolio

Best Ways to Save for Retirement

If you do have a gap between your current resources and what you expect to spend on active senior living, these tips can help you save for retirement:

  1. Catch-Up on Contributions – Starting at age 50 you can make extra contributions to your IRA and 401(k) accounts. The extra amount is now up to $6,500 for 401(k)s and $1,000 for IRAs according to the IRS.
  2. Consider a Health Savings Account – To help you prepare for unexpected medical expenses and reduce your taxable income you could open a health savings account. What you save will grow tax-free, and when you turn 65 you can start making withdrawals for qualified medical expenses.
  3. Wait on Social Security – Although you can technically collect benefits starting at age 62, most financial advisors recommend waiting. The reason? Drawing at 70 instead of 62 can increase your monthly benefit exponentially.
  4. Start a Side Hustle – According to Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, 47 percent of baby boomers today enjoy working in retirement. Beyond earning extra income, it also helps you stay active and maintain a sense of purpose. You could freelance or do consulting work depending on your skillset, or even try something completely new.
  5. Change Spending Habits – Take a look at where/how you spend your money to see where you can cut. Perhaps switch to a pay-as-you-go cell phone, opt for streaming services versus expensive cable, or even (gasp) limit those trips to Starbucks.
  6. Check for Benefits – See what benefits in which you may qualify. There’s the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit for wartime veterans or a surviving spouse. Also, the National Council on Aging’s benefitscheckup.org website makes it easy to check thousands of state and local programs. 

Bonus Tip: Compare Your Costs at Home

You may think active senior living will cost you more, but when you compare it to the total cost of living at home, in some cases it can be less! How? The cost at home is more than just mortgage or rent, it also includes food, entertainment, and home upkeep, all of which are included in active senior living. Some utilities may be included too for extra value!

For additional help in saving for active senior living, check out our Financial Planning for Senior Living Guide today!