Bellewood - A LifeMinded® Residence
Bellevue Assisted Living - Living Engaged In Washington State
A Retirement Community for the active Bellevue Senior. Bellewood, is a senior apartment community providing the finest care and atmosphere in the Bellevue area. Nestled in a fir-lined setting in Issaquah, Washington we offer a green, garden oasis that is convenient to everything the east-side has to offer.
Change is inevitable. Rent increases don’t have to be. People tend to live at Bellewood longer than they expected, so we’ve found a way to help you plan for the future with greater financial certainty and confidence.
LifeMinded is in everything we do.
All the Difference
A Good Move
NOW BEST FRIENDS.
Meet Dorothy and Maggie.
MEET THE FOUNDER.
Family owned and operated, Bellewood was different from day one.
YOUR SENIOR LIVING QUESTIONS ANSWERED
No matter where you choose to live, this information can help you make an informed decision.
Our bodies change as we age.
Nutritional needs change as we age, but eating well doesn’t get any less important. Sadly, poor nutrition and malnutrition can easily be mistaken as illness. Consuming healthy food and key nutrients are a valuable preventative medicine for all seniors, and should be made a high priority.
Many issues can get in the way of this goal. Bodily changes, such as dental and gastrointestinal conditions, can effect what foods are satiating and appealing. Lack of interest in cooking and eating alone, financial concerns, and the ability to access the grocery store also play a role.
We also tend to use less energy as we age (staying active can help offset this), therefore a senior’s caloric needs are lower. That is why it’s important to be efficient in getting key nutrients into our systems. Common nutrient deficiencies include inadequate intake of vitamin A, B, C, D, E, folic acid and niacin. Focusing on healthy whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high protein foods such as meat, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, will help pack the nutrition you need into your daily caloric intake. Partaking in low nutrient foods like solid fats and added sugars doesn’t leave enough room in your diet for the nutritious foods. A daily multi-vitamin can also help fill in any gaps you may have, but is no substitution for healthy, nutrient-dense foods.
Senior apartment communities can help seniors meet their nutritional needs by providing easy access to healthful, well-balanced meals. Everyone gets sick of cooking and eating the same meals over and over again, but it’s difficult to meal plan and try new things. Senior housing and retirement homes often have a full-time chef on site that can bring spice to your life, and more nutritious foods to your table.
What’s on the menu at Bellewood Senior Living Community?
In our dining room, Executive Chef Frank Blanchard and his staff create their menus and meals from scratch, on-site (with plenty of input from residents, of course). They use seasonal herbs, locally grown and from our own garden to add flavor and flair. And they tailor meals to residents' preferences and individual dietary needs. Unlike many national assisted living facility chains, Bellewood’s menu is not dictated by a corporate entity. It’s dictated by the likes and needs of our residents. The dining staff is sure that there’s healthy fare every day (like a full salad bar) and special fare on those special occasions, like your birthday. We want the meals at Bellewood to be nutritional but it’s also an important part of the day’s social activities as well. And on those occasions where you’re a bit under the weather, we’ve got room service available as well.
Many senior housing or retirement communities offer meals but do not include it as part of the basic services. At Bellewood, we consider our meal program integral to your health and longevity. Having dinner daily in our garden-side dining room is included in your monthly rent. You can use your meals however you like, whenever you like, in any combination. If you miss meals, you’re free to “make them up” at any time during the same month. Our dining plan lets you tailor your dining service to fit your life.
As we age, our worlds tend to get smaller.
There are many reasons for this but studies have found that it’s not good for our health. Staying social is associated with heart and immune system health, lowering depression risk and overall longer life. Being isolated triggers feelings of loneliness that can put your body into a chronic stress response, and constant presence of stress hormones leading to poor health outcomes.
Shrinking social circles, poor health, life changes, and transportation issues can all inhibit your ability to have an active social life. That’s why living in a senior living or senior housing community that promotes health and activity, while making socializing easy and convenient, is critical to living a vibrant and engaged senior life.
Here are some suggestions for how to stay social:
One-on-one time: Meet up for coffee or tea with a friend. Make it a regular date so you don’t have to remember to schedule it again and again. Invite someone over for a meal at your home. Take your pet (or just yourself) on a walk to somewhere where people congregate. Video chats or phone calls can be good substitutes when distance is a factor, but it’s worth the effort to get face-to-face in the same room whenever possible.
Group activities can be beneficial because they have structure and usual meeting times so you can meet new people and develop friendships by seeing people on a regular basis. It’s one of the advantages of living at a senior housing or senior apartment community, but you can still be social even if you aren’t part of a retirement community. Explore the options at your local religious organization, or non-profit to be a part of group studies, choirs, book clubs, or service projects. Even if you don’t like big groups, there are lots of activities that are ideal for 3, 4 or 5 people; take that walk together, play a board game, or maintain a communal garden, a little company goes a long way in keeping you healthy.
How social is the Bellewood Senior Apartment Community?
Bellewood prides itself on assisting seniors expand their social circles and improving their quality of life each and every day. Living in a senior apartment at Bellewood means being embraced by a community. For us assisted living is all about helping our residents get the most out of every aspect of their lives, including being as socially active as they want. We offer many opportunities to build meaningful new relationships and nurture longstanding ones. We also offer group discussions and other structured support for residents seeking camaraderie and connection. Staying social is an important part of our Living LifeMinded philosophy to senior independent living, you can learn more here.
We know for most people moving into a senior apartment or retirement home is a big change so to help with that we make it easy to get to know other residents. Each time you visit prior to moving in, we’ll introduce you to many of the people who live and work here. We hope that by the time you join us, you will already know several people by name. When you move into your senior apartment, our relocation coordinator will be available to answer all the questions you or your family may have. We also have a group of residents who serve as “ambassadors” and welcome new residents. Providing great meals is part of any assisted living community but just as nutritional is the social aspect of dinner; our maître d’ will seat you, introducing you to your tablemates. In no time at all, you’ll feel like one of the family.
Every day we prove that independent living doesn’t mean isolated living. Just the opposite! We provide many other opportunities to get to know your senior living community. We offer classes covering a variety of topics. Our exercise classes include Qi gong (and ancient practice combining stretching, balance and mindful breathing) and our Pole Walkers who love to take walks and log miles together. Senior living doesn’t have to be boring. We have lots of opportunities to exercise your brain; we have regular book clubs and often have authors come read their own works in the flesh! We also feature classes covering content provided by The Great Courses, which includes anything from wine tasting, music appreciation and much more. For your creative bone, we offer many visual arts classes, such as water color painting, beadwork, driftwood sculpture. You can also join our Bellepoint Singers choir and enjoy singing in several public performances throughout the year. There’s always something going on at Bellewood, and there’s always room for one more - join us.
Making the Transition
MAKING THE TRANSITION
Moving from one’s home is always a big decision, and can be even more emotionally fraught for the 55 and over population. If the move is from a single family home to assisted living or a retirement community, the change is even more disruptive but more often than not, a positive one.
The first step is to communicate as a family. Having many conversations over an extended period of time can help everyone process the transition and align expectations more easily than under a deadline. Whatever your loved ones age, it’s never too early to begin these talks, and can help remove the sting of words like “retirement home” or “assisted living”. Many senior’s approach these conversations feeling that leaving their personal home means a loss of independence, however many scientific studies and stories from seniors paint a very different picture.
There are many types of communities out there: retirement communities, assisted and independent living, senior living apartments, elderly housing. These communities offer a large range of assistance to the 55 and older population, and can often help seniors maintain their independence longer than if they were living on their own or as a couple. Many of these senior living communities are meant for seniors who are active and vibrant, and need not be viewed as a sad or depressing location, they can be just the opposite! Bellewood is a perfect example of a retirement home community filled with independent and active people.
Choosing to live in a senior living community can also help the families of seniors. Making the transition from a personal home to senior housing earlier on, while seniors have the ability to decide for themselves, can make everyone’s lives easier. No child or relative wants to make decisions for a reluctant senior. Make a realistic plan together as a caregiving team, with the reasonable expectation that no one can live alone and take care of themselves forever. And it’s vital to remember making the transition while you are active and healthy tends to keep you active and vibrant longer.
Is Bellewood Senior Apartment Community the right place for you?
Bellewood is a vibrant senior living community meant for seniors looking to stay active and independent. We offer many services and amenities that allow our residents to age in place and maintain independence even as their physical abilities change.
Try it out first! Not all senior living communities let you try them out overnight (or longer) to see how they feel but Bellewood isn’t like all assisted living communities, we encourage you to visit, and stay a while. This approach gives you time to make arrangements and determine if they’re we’re good fit for you.
Many people who move to Bellewood are pleasantly surprised to live here longer than they thought they would. We have a yearly celebration for our staff and residents who’ve been with us for over 10 years, we call them our Perfect 10’s and they’re the lifeblood of our community, our family!
The act of moving and settling into a new place can be daunting. We make it easy to get to know other residents. Each time you visit, we’ll introduce you to many of the people who live and work here. We hope that by the time you join us, you will already know several people by name. When you move in, our relocation coordinator will be available to answer all the questions you or your family may have. We also have a group of residents who serve as “ambassadors” and welcome new residents. Sure it’s a big step but at Bellewood, you don’t make it alone.
Independence is something we all hold dear. We desperately wanted our independence as teenagers and hold on to the concept even more dearly as we age. Nobody wants to give up their independence. It’s the number one reason people state for staying in their own home instead of moving to a senior apartment community yet there’s a problem with that logic. Staying in our homes tends have the opposite effect on our independence. Instead of giving us freedom, it tends to restrict us. Visiting friends and staying active can be difficult when living in one’s own home with limited access to transportation and activities. Maintaining and cleaning a house also requires time and money, which can limit many people’s choices and activities. Independence does not mean isolation but that’s often the result of “staying in my home.” People who move to an assisted living or Independent Senior Living Community have fewer logistical barriers and tend to become more active, have more social interaction and live fuller more purposeful lives. Most residents at Bellewood Senior Living Community will tell you they resisted moving from their own homes as long as possible, but they will also tell you after making the move, they wish they had done it sooner.
What is an Independent Senior Living Community?
An Independent Senior Living Community is a community of active, healthy seniors who are able to live on their own. It may take the form of a neighborhood, apartment complex or a single large building. Independent living is frequently referred to as retirement communities, retirement homes, senior apartments, or senior housing. The key component is that you live in close proximity to one another which allows for a wide array of benefits. At Bellewood these benefits include amenities that are very expensive or simply not available to an individual or couple, such as housekeeping, salons, transportation, security, a concierge, fitness center, and large communal rooms. Additional benefits if you choose to partake include a wide array of planned social activities, fitness and wellness programs, and meal services. Even if you choose not to engage socially, prepare your own meals and spend time out and about by yourself the peace of mind in being part of a larger retirement community is always there.
Aging in place.
Many Senior Living Communities also allow for “aging in place”. They are designed to accommodate seniors even as they lose some independence. Most find they do not have to leave their community, since it’s designed with amenities such as elevators, wide hallways, and easy access to part- or full-time caregivers. Should one need immediate assistance, every Bellewood senior apartment is set up with a voice activated call system for help. No need to search for pull cords or finding a phone, just a verbal expression of distress will alert the staff you need assistance. All of this is designed to allow you to age in place and results in a healthier mental and emotional state during any necessary recuperation.
Is the Bellewood Senior Living Community the right place for you?
Just as every resident is unique, so is every senior housing or independent living community. Unlike most senior apartments that are owned by large corporations Bellewood is a family owned community that just celebrated its 30th anniversary. We are proud of the longevity of our residents and our staff. It all adds up to a strong, healthy and supportive community. The best way to see if Bellewood is right for you is to come in and visit. We know it’s a big decision and we let you take your time; there is no hard sell, just a chance to see and feel the difference. Meet the staff and residents, have a meal or spend a few days in the guest apartments (a wonderful benefit for residents families who visit from out of state) and participate in a social event or two. After that we’re sure you’ll know if Bellewood Senior Living Community is right for you.
Fitness – Body & Mind
FITNESS: BODY & MIND
Understanding your body and its relationship to nutrition and physical activity is critical to staying active as you age. You must also take responsibility for your health, by instituting good eating and active habits, and paying attention to your body’s warning signs.
Older adults who stay physically active live longer have healthy brains. Exercise can also help you avoid those pesky winter cold and flu viruses, while also lowering your likelihood of having more chronic conditions, such as heart disease or Type 2 diabetes. Lots of people want to stay physically active, but making those habits and exercising discipline can be challenging, that’s why a senior living or senior apartment community can help! By making exercise structured, convenient, and social, you can meet your daily physical activity goals, enhance your life, and enjoy doing it.
Exercise, it’s for more than just your body.
In the same way that physical exercise can enhance your brain function, by exercising your brain, you can help your overall health. By challenging yourself, learning new things, and doing tasks that require active engagement, memory function can be improved and also increase seniors’ sense of well-being.
Many older adults find that living in an assisted living or senior housing community greatly enhances their ability to stay active by taking advantage of the senior-focused and structured wellness, fitness and nutritional programs offered by the retirement home.
How can living at Bellewood Senior Living Community help you stay active?
Too often, we’re told aging must be a time of diminished expectations, contribution, and exploration. We vigorously disagree. Since we opened our doors as a senior housing and independent living community in 1986, our residents have benefited from a much different approach. We call it LifeMinded. Through it, we help every person who lives at Bellewood create their own personalized program for living a full, satisfying and active life—often a more active life—regardless of their age. Retirement living as it was meant to be lived, full of life.
“A 2017 report from the International Council on Active Aging found that in Life Plan Communities with a wellness program, 91% of residents say their health and wellness is good, very good or excellent.” At Bellewood, LifeMinded promotes the benefits of engaged and independent living, using special, proven practices designed for senior living, based on the "Seven Dimensions of Wellness" model endorsed by the International Council on Active Aging.
We break down Living LifeMinded into five categories, the first being physical fitness. From yoga to dancercise to walking, we offer many different fitness classes and outdoor activities. Keep your routines fresh and your motivation high as you maintain your all-important balance, core strength, heart health and flexibility.
Another category of LifeMinded is brain fitness. We strive to keep you sharp, and science increasingly shows that a honed and vigorous mind is the key to healthy functioning later in life. We mix learning in a social atmosphere with fun physical fitness exercises to help keep your mind limber and lucid.
The third category of LifeMinded is social connections. Living at Bellewood means being embraced by a community. We offer many opportunities to build meaningful new relationships and nurture longstanding ones. We also offer group discussions and other structured support for residents seeking camaraderie and connection.
The fourth category of LifeMinded we term Making a Difference. We encourage our residents to pursue their passions. Your life’s work should be for life. We’re here to help as you keep making an impact. Bellewood residents redefine retirement by volunteering, mentoring, creating, and more. Share your vision, and we’ll make the connections that make it possible.
For many seniors, living on a fixed income brings concerns of outliving your retirement savings. There are many things you can do to ensure you are living within your means, hiring a financial advisor, developing a budget, and preparing for the possibility that you may become unable to handle your finances. A large portion of your nest egg will be spent on living expenses, so it’s important to consider housing related daily, monthly and yearly costs.
Staying home vs. moving out
When making the important decision of where to live as you age, you need to take into account your overall health and well-being along with the finances. Many seniors think that staying in their homes is more affordable than joining an assisted living or senior living community but fail to take into account the various costs that can accrue. While you may not be paying rent or a mortgage, living at home can require basic home maintenance, like a new water heater or yard care, or projects to keep the home accessible based on your abilities. These improvements can include installing a stair lift, wheel chair ramps, or remodeling a bath (to include a curbless shower and installing hand rails, for example). All these projects have a cost, and it’s important to research to see if they will add to your home value or not.
There are also costs associated with independent living and retirement home communities, here are a few things to consider when researching to see what’s included in your monthly rent or joining fee: waiting list deposit, move-in fee, housekeeping, meals, TV, utilities (phone, internet, electricity), transportation, parking, field trips, wellness programs. At Bellewood most of these are included with your monthly rent; you can read about Bellewood’s services and amenities here. Depending on your needs, desired assisted living services are available at varying costs.
Change is inevitable; at Bellewood Senior Living Community rent increases don’t have to be.
Financial peace of mind is why we’ve created a program call LifeMinded Rewards. People tend to live and engage at Bellewood longer than they expected, so we’ve found a way to help you plan for the future with greater financial certainty and confidence. LifeMinded Rewards is a one of a kind program that limits or eliminates any rent increase you’ll experience at Bellewood senior apartments. The program is simple and it starts after you’ve lived with us for just 3 consecutive years. After your 3rd year your rent will never increase by more than 2% per year. After 5 years your rent will never increase more than 1% per year and after 10 consecutive years with us you rent will never increase at all. No fine print, no buy in, no hidden gimmicks, just an approach that puts your peace of mind first.
LifeMinded Rewards may be the most unique aspect of our take on finances but it’s not our only one. Unlike most retirement communities or independent senior housing communities you’ll find, we are very upfront about our fees, you can easily find them all on our website, just click here.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is a term applied to many senior living and retirement communities but the assistance offered varies greatly. It is important to find a senior apartment or retirement home that provides the services you need and one that can accommodate your needs in the future as well.
There is no official, standardized definition of assisted living, but we find there are two basic types, those who support independent living and those who have the added support of on-site medical staff. Most active seniors do not need on staff medical support as a part of their senior housing. The want their own living space with the assistance of amenities that make their lives easier such as daily meals, housekeeping, health and wellness programs, social programs, transportation and access to medical services. Assisted living facilities are generally designed for those who don’t need the intensive medical care provided at nursing homes.
Does the Bellewood Senior Living Community offer the right assistance for you?
Common assisted living communities’ amenities include meals, housekeeping, transportation, medication assistance, emergency call service, planned activities and around the clock assistance if needed. Bellewood offers all of these assisted living services. Some facilities are designed for people who are less independent and in need of more support. Their service offering typically includes licensed nursing, medication assistance and around-the-clock observation of health status. This type of facility is a step between independent living and a nursing home. People who have serious health issues or are in a state of rapidly declining health are better off with this type of care. At Bellewood we bridge the gap between independent living and assisted living with partner providers such as Right at Home who provide extended services to allow our residents to get the help they need without leaving the comfort and safety.
As the saying goes, one size doesn’t fit all and one community isn’t the right fit for everyone. What is the right level of care for you is a complex question but one we are happy to help you work through it. We honestly want you to live where you receive the maximum benefit and are here to help you make your senior housing decision.
Assisted Living FAQ
ASSISTED LIVING FAQ
Questions you should ask when deciding on your retirement community:
What are the different levels of care available?
Different senior living and retirement communities offer different levels of care, here are the very basic differences.
Housing only: What you’d expect, 55 and above senior housing. Typically with fitness rooms and common lounges but no meals, no maid service and often no transportation.
Independent Senior Housing: You live and cook in your own space but there are many social opportunities to take advantage of.
Assisted living: This is the hardest to compare as the level of assistance offered vary. At a minimum it should include some meals, transportation, maid service and 24/7 on call assistance. From there the level of care increases with need, offering on site nursing and medical care and eventually providing what it typically thought of as nursing home services. Not all assisted living communities are the same, take your time and shop the ones you are interested in.
Do you offer assisted living services?
It’s important to determine if the senior living community is the right fit for you, and for your future. Make sure to ask about their assisted living services, transportation, memory care, and wellness programs to determine if it’s a right fit. Read our posts on assisted living and independent living to learn more.
Bellewood residents have access to personal care services in the comfort of their senior apartments. Even though we are an independent senior living community, there is no need to leave Bellewood if you need assistance with grooming, laundry, medication reminders or other personal matters. Access to assisted living services can be provided on your terms by our partners or anyone of your choosing. Read more about our partners and the assisted living services they provide here.
Do you allow pets?
Many assisted living communities and retirement homes do not allow pets. If your pet is an important part of your family, be sure to keep them in mind when selecting where to live, it will be their home too.
At Bellewood, small pets are welcome. We can even help you find dog-walking services.
Will I have to sign a lease?
In order to make a good decision for your senior housing situation, you need to be able to plan for your future, and the unknown that comes with it. Make sure to find out the monthly and annual expenses that will be required by the independent living facility. Some assisted living or senior living communities require an initial deposit or a substantial joining fee. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for and what happens if you have to change your plans, before making any commitments. At Bellewood, we do not require signing a long-term lease, we rent our senior apartments on a month-to-month basis, even though many of our residents stay here for years.
What is the rent and how often does it increase?
This seems pretty simple, but often it’s not. Make sure you get details so you can plan your finances and ensure your future is secure.
How does your meal plan work?
Meal plans and the quality of the food are important parts of your decision to join an assisted living community. The dining experience is also important, is it a cafeteria environment? Restaurant-style serving? Can you get room service?
The quality and nutrition of the food should not be overlooked. Adequate nutrition is critical for seniors to maintain muscle mass and overall health.
Bellewood’s monthly food service fee is included in your rent, and provides for the equivalent of one meal per day and you can choose to use those meals whenever you’d like, lunch or dinner.
Do you provide transportation?
Coming home to an inviting home is important, but inorder to come home, you must be able to get out and about. If you don’t drive, or plan to eliminate driving in the future, make sure you have access to the transportation you’ll need for social engagements, shopping, banking, and medical visits, on your schedule.
An important part of enjoying life at Bellewood Senior Apartments is your access to the outside world. Bellewood offers regular transportation to their residents, come see our concierge for details.
Is parking available?
Parking is important to the senior apartment residents who drive, and for those who may come to visit. Ensuring adequate parking is critical for your daily convenience, and also has financial implications if you have to find alternate storage for your vehicle.
Bellewood has plenty of surface parking for you and guests at no extra charge. We’ll even valet your car for you if needed.
Where can my family stay when they come for an extended visit?
For many, leaving their family home often means also leaving their extra guest room. It’s important to ensure that your visitors have a comfortable, affordable, and convenient place to stay when they visit. Make sure you aren’t limited in your ability to visit parents just because they’ve moved to assisted living.
At Bellewood we have apartments available for families use when visiting. This means you don’t have to find a hotel, you’re a short walk away from the folks and most importantly, your parents don’t need to pay for and keep up an extra room or two in their home.
What are community fees?
Community fees are charged by many assisted living or senior apartments to cover the administrative fees associated with a new resident move-in. Typically the fee runs from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. At Bellewood, we do not charge a separate community fee and most of our amenities are included in your monthly rent.