Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist Can Help Your Parents Remain in Their Beloved Home

There are many good reasons why older adults prefer to remain in their own homes and communities. Proximity to family and friends, the comfort of familiar surroundings, privacy — all of these are important. A widowed senior may feel closer to his lost loved one by staying in the house they shared for several decades.

While retirement communities provide numerous opportunities for socializing and activities, seniors may become isolated if separated from familiar neighbors, friends and other social networks. The upheaval of learning new routines and finding new hairdressers, grocery stores, local shops, restaurants, etc., is daunting enough for most of us. To an older individual, perhaps with a diminishing memory, this can be an absolute nightmare.

A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) professional can help make your parents’ home “aging-ready.” CAPS professionals utilize universal design principles to create a safer, more comfortable and more independent life in their own home, both now and in the future. Learn more about how a certified Aging-in-Place specialist can help your parents age in place by visiting our What is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist page .

Joan’s Journey: Conservation and Change Describe Senior Living

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Holiday Villa East (HVE) in Santa Monica, three lovely ladies donated belongings for the neighborhood Goodwill Industries Thrift Shop. Between the daily activities of bingo and Scrabble, these HVE residents paused to place pants, a shirt and a beloved cape into the artful Earth Day donations box handmade by Activities Director Brenda Martinez.

Before placing her attractive brown cape in the box, thoughtful Rose asked if her friends would like to have it. Rose commented that the cape was warm, comfortable and in good condition. She had worn it for many years and was ready to give away the garment. The residents thanked her, but agreed that the cape should go to a new, perhaps needy, owner.

Wise women. Senior living requires downsizing and spring cleaning renews the effort to downsize and get rid of unwanted items wherever one lives. The theme for this year’s Earth Day is It’s Our Time To Lead and served as the impetus for the donation campaign at HVE.

Learn about the other eco-friendly practices that Joan discovered at her community in Joan’s Journey, Part 29.

How to Overcome the Challenges of Moving to Assisted Living … Using TV Catchphrases

A few years ago, you bought a medical alert system for your older parent or relative. Then later, you added in-home care to help her with the activities of daily living. Now, you’re done with aging in place. She’s moving into assisted living.

When moving day arrives, emotions might be high—but risk should be low. Let’s look at everything you need to know to keep seniors safe during the move. To help with our journey, we’ve enlisted the help of our friend, the television.

And a one … and a two …  and awaaaay we go!How to Overcome the Challenges of Moving into Assisted Living ... Using TV Catchphrases

Ask her, “How you doin’?”

Moving into assisted living is a huge change, so don’t trivialize the impact. Acknowledge the emotions moving causes and don’t let those feelings of helplessness, anger and sadness simmer. Talk it out, frequently.

Don’t look back: “The tribe has spoken”

Make moving a collaborative process so that your loved one can be involved. After all, she is the one who’s actually moving. Work with her to organize and plan the move. It’s not about you doing it all or her doing it all. Do it together.

Once you’ve made the decision to move to assisted living, don’t look back. Don’t go 50 rounds once you’ve made the decision. This isn’t an occasion to keep asking, “Is that your final answer?” Make the call and move on.

“Just the facts, ma’am”

Don’t get fooled by sales talk or fancy brochures. Visit as many facilities as you can with your loved one. When you visit the facilities, examine all aspects of life. Never assume anything when you’re visiting—ask questions! Most importantly, use a checklist like this one to inspect the assisted living facility so you can compare the options available.

Talking to residents is one of the best ways to learn what it’s actually like to live at the facility, so don’t be shy to ask them questions! After your visit, talk with your loved one about what you both liked and disliked about each facility so you can choose the one that best fits both their needs and their wants.

“Move that bus”: How to get your home ready to sell

Your home may not need an extreme makeover, but now that you’ve chosen your ideal facility, it’s time to get your house ready to sell. Go through the house, clean it up, and make those small repairs that have been put off for years. You want your house to shine for prospective buyers! Work with a real estate professional to sell the house. It’s one less item that you have to manage, and you’ll make sure you’re getting full market value for the assets.

“Well, isn’t that special?” Bring the things that matter, but not everything

Moving into an assisted living facility means your loved one has to narrow down what they want to bring with them. First, talk to the facility to learn what is and is not allowed. Then you and your loved one need to have a talk—be careful not to assume what they want to take with them.

Make sure your loved one brings her favorite belongings. You want to avoid clutter, but you also want to recreate the feeling of home in the new space. Be careful of the temptation to buy your loved one completely new furniture for their new home—many older adults prefer to keep their favorite recliner or sleep in their own bed.

Finally, double-check that you have packed the basic, day-to-day items she will need. These include medication, shampoo, toothbrush and other toiletries. Pack enough clothing to fill the closets. Include enough underwear and socks so that there is always a clean set available. Bring sweaters for air conditioning, and nice outfits for socializing events.

Choosing which items to bring can be the most difficult part of this process. Your loved one will likely need to downsize. Keep up the conversation with her so that everything she needs to be happy and feel at home is packed to bring with her.

“Grab your gear” (Or better yet, have someone else grab it)

Once you’ve decided what your loved one is bringing with her, it’s time to get it over to the new place. Let a moving company take care of things. While they do the heavy lifting, you can go over the paperwork to update your loved one’s address with the post office and necessary companies. You want her to continue getting her mail!

“Hi, everybody!” Make some new friends

It can be hard to make friends as a senior. She doesn’t have to announce herself every time she enters a room at the new facility, but your mother will have to try a bit. Work with your loved one to create a friend strategy before you arrive. Encourage them to meet the neighbors. Look at all of the available activities and pick a few to try. Meeting new friends and staying busy will ease the transition and make living in the facility much more enjoyable.

Conclusion

You’re not Mighty Mouse. Your job isn’t to save the day. Just do a little planning and help her transition to assisted living. Bring your plan and do the work, and you’ll be just fine. Remember, with clear eyes and a full heart, you can’t lose.

Shayne Fitz-Coy is an NAHB Certified Aging In Place Expert and has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harvard as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Shayne hails from Maryland, and now calls the Bay Area home. As the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company, Shayne writes about issues that matter to seniors and those that care about them.

The Last Stop: On the Go

For nine installments, I’ve been describing my senior living experiences. This month, I want my readers to know how good it feels to get away. I feel fortunate that I have places to go, people who want to see me and that I can handle the unpredictable, challenging experience of travel.

So far, so good.Margery prepares for takeoff!

When I went to Beijing to visit my son, he suggested I order a wheelchair when I landed to get me to where he would be waiting. I was insulted and firmly told him I had no problem walking and he should know that. The truth is, he was travel-smart and I was dumb.

In a country where few understand my language and I don’t understand theirs, there is a huge risk of getting misdirected when traveling alone and not being able to ask anyone for help. He was so right and I was stupidly vain. I was sure glad I did what he told me anyway. I went from the plane to the wheelchair to his car without a hitch.

Read more about Margery’s travels, including some helpful advice for seniors who decide to hit the road, in “Part 11: On The Road.”

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

5 Tips to Help Seniors Saving for Retirement

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 28 percent of retirees feel they have enough money saved up for their retirement. It’s probably safe to assume that the rest of those folks are dealing with a significant amount of stress.

The older we get, the harder it is to pull in any income, meaning that your sunset years could be obscured by a stormy horizon. Not to fear, though—there are several things seniors can do to generate more cash, or spend less of it, after they’ve retired. Check out these five tips.

1. Cut Your Food CostsTips to Help Seniors Saving for Retirement

If you’re not clipping coupons from the Sunday paper to save on groceries, start now. It’s a tried-and-true method of conserving funds, and it’s just as effective as it was when you were younger. If you know your way around a smartphone, try out apps like Grocery Pal and Checkout 51. Like to eat out at restaurants? Visit deal-of-the-day websites like Groupon and LivingSocial to get 50-percent-off vouchers for restaurant trips.

2. Get Healthier

According to Fidelity, the average 65-year-old couple who retired last year can plan on spending $220,000 on healthcare expenses throughout their retirement. Although I don’t dispute that number, I firmly believe it’s possible to spend significantly less. Join the YMCA (the Silver Sneakers program may be offered for free) or start a workout program at home. Get active and you can not only live longer, you can lower your health insurance costs, to boot.

3. Reduce Entertainment Expenses

My mom is 82 years old. Sure, she could spend her money on theater tickets and fancy restaurants, but instead she invites all of her kids over every other Saturday for a fun game night—a great, inexpensive way to spend time with the ones she loves.

You can also save money by cutting the cable cord and signing up for Hulu Plus or Netflix. Or, rent movies from Redbox for a little more than $1 per day. There are countless ways to cut your entertainment costs during retirement, so don’t let pricier options fritter away at your nest egg.

4. Save on Travel

Use websites like BookingBuddy or CheapOair to track flight prices and save on airfare. Your preferred airline’s website may also offer a cheap rate that won’t necessarily be advertised elsewhere. Travel during the week when possible, book your flights from Monday through Thursday when most sales are going on, and combine luggage to save on checked bag fees.

5. Get Rid of a Car

Got two cars? You probably don’t need both of them. Even if you only have one, though, think seriously about selling it. If your neighborhood has a decent public transit system, you might be able to get around without a set of wheels altogether. You can not only save on gas by making this move, but also insurance, upkeep and a variety of other expenses associated with automobile ownership.

Drumming up extra money during retirement isn’t an easy task. Banking institutions are not going to offer you retirement loans, and your kids are probably dealing with their own financial difficulties. Do what you can today to drum up more money for your golden years and you just might find that the retirement you’re hoping for is within reach.

What other tips do you know of for retirees who need more money?

Martin Davis writes about senior living, retirement savings, investing, and smart money management.

Overcoming the Roadblocks of Aging: The Surprising Lessons from “Downton Abbey”

The days of butlers, footmen and personal valets are long past, but technology can provide a great array of substitutes to make aging in place more comfortable and manageable than ever before. It’s almost as nice as having a staff at Downton Abbey.

How do today’s technologies measure up to living in the famed manse? See for yourself!

How to clean your home efficiently: Mrs. Hughes vs. Roomba

Mrs. Hughes is delightful—warm, loving and loyal. But when it comes to cleaning house, Roomba gives her and her staff of housemaids some good competition. The zippy robot 'Downton Abbey' vs. technologyvacuum traverses your rooms to pick up dirt, hair and dust without complaint. When it needs charging, it heads over to its docking station for a rest. You hardly know it’s around, except that your floors are free of debris!

How to entertain yourself: Miss Sarah O’Brien vs. Netflix

Lady’s maids are a great help around the chamber—and an even better source of gossip and company. Today, seniors have Netflix to take O’Brien’s place. For only $8.99 a month, the world’s entertainment is at your fingertips. OK, so the TV cannot make your bed and brush your hair. But in terms of entertaining you without fail, and without getting tired, “Orange is the New Black” cannot be beat!

How to get from point A to point B: Tom Branson vs. Uber

Private drivers are the ultimate luxury. If you were Lady Grantham, you could summon your footman to ready your carriage and to run you across town. But having a private driver is hardly a thing of the past. Uber, a car service accessible to anyone with a smartphone, provides you with an army of private drivers who are ready to run you just about anywhere your heart desires. They are, as they say, “Everyone’s private driver.” Plus, you never have to worry about Uber running away with your daughter.

What’s wrong with me, doctor? Dr. Clarkson vs. HealthTap

Dr. Clarkson is the well-meaning Crawley family doctor. Unfortunately, he’s often proven incorrect. Rather than taking the word of one physician, modern seniors can trust the wisdom of crowds. HealthTap gives you free access to advice from thousands of trusted doctors, available 24/7/365. Ask any question free and anonymously. Pay a monthly subscription and you will get unlimited live consultations with physicians. Doctors can now make house calls through your phone and computer.

Cooking for seniors at home: Mrs. Beryl Patmore vs. the Yummly app and your microwave

You have to love dear old Mrs. Patmore and her sumptuous feasts! When the ingredients fail or work of the younger cooks falter, Mrs. Patmore unleashes her fury. Imagine how much easier her life would be if she could use her smartphone and the Yummly app like modern seniors can. Yummly helps search for recipes by ingredient, course and taste preference. Missing ingredients? Yummly can understand which ingredients you have and suggest the perfect recipe for what’s in your fridge.

On top of that, today’s seniors have an advantage Mrs. Patmore lacked—a microwave to speed their culinary creations! It cooks quickly, evenly, and without reliance on heated elements or hot surfaces that pose safety risks. It offers unprecedented convenience and luxury.

Conclusion

Downton runs into trouble because the Earl of Grantham is slow to embrace new technology. Luckily, he has smart daughters and a large staff to help him overcome life’s roadblocks. Learn from his mistakes; embrace these new technologies and make aging in place a breeze.

Shayne Fitz-Coy is the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company headquartered in Williamsport, Pa., with offices nationwide. Shayne has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harvard College and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Shayne hails from Maryland, and now calls the Bay Area home.

 

Celebrate National Assisted Living Week with SeniorHomes.com!

By 2020, there will be an estimated 21 million seniors who are 75 and older in the United States. Behind this number will be families grappling with how to care for loved ones. When a family member needs support, it is instinctive to turn inward, for families to support each other and find the solution within the family. Yet that is often overlooking the support an outside partner can play in lessening the burden for all involved and making life a bit easier.

Many people still think that assisted living communities are nursing homes—and this could not be more wrong. Assisted living communities are filled with seniors National Assisted Living Week - Logo
in their 80s, 90s, and some even celebrating the century mark, who are still active and living independent lives. They visit zoos, attend plays and even kayak down a local river. The only difference which sets these seniors apart from their younger 60s and 70s counterparts is the need of supportive assistance to retain their independence.

This is why SeniorHomes.com is proud to recognize National Assisted Living Week, which runs from Sept. 7-13. The National Center for Assisted Living started National Assisted Living Week in 1995 to celebrate and honor relationships between residents, families and the dedicated staff members who provide person-centered care each and every day.

Every week we work with more than 1,000 consumers, answering their questions about what is assisted living and matching them to communities which deliver this person-centered care. And we partner with the most reputable senior living companies across the nation so families have options that will fit every budget and every state.

“We are proud of the role we play in helping seniors and families find the best community possible,” says Chris Rodde, CEO of SeniorHomes.com. “Our care advisors take the time to know each consumer and learn what type of support and lifestyle is wanted. Every week we receive a ‘thank you,’ whether from a senior or their family, for the help we provided in matching them to a community. Many never knew how rewarding life could be after moving into a community.”

We invite you to join SeniorHomes.com in recognizing National Assisted Living Week.

Are Marketers Missing the Mark When It Comes to Baby Boomers?

Marketing

Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods and services.  In fact, with Baby Boomers accounting for 35% of the American adult population and the 55+ age group controlling more than ¾ of America’s wealth, you would think that they would continue to be a marketer’s dream.  These facts and statistics support Steve Gillon’s claim in Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation Ever, and How It Changed America that almost from the time they were conceived, Baby Boomers were dissected, analyzed, and pitched to by modern marketers who reinforced the sense of generational distinctiveness.

So, with all of the Baby Boomers’ control over personal financial assets and consumer spending in the United States, why is Peter Hubbell, CEO of the BoomAgers ad agency, telling marketers to wake up when it comes to Baby Boomers and arguing in his new book that boomers are a bust for most brands today?

In a recent interview with Richard Eisenberg for Forbes, Hubbell explains that every time he goes out and speaks, boomers tell him they are really frustrated about advertising, and some are angry.  They see ads with pop culture icons they don’t even know selling brands they have been buying for years, and they’ve had enough.  Hubbell admits that he has switched his jeans allegiance to J.L. Powell from Levi’s because he is out of Levi’s marketing cohort, with ads featuring “tattooed kids with messy hair, ripped clothing and pierced skin making out in the back of the car.”

Hubbell contends that Madison Avenue only worships consumers until age 50 and then ignores them.  But, with the beginning of the new era that Hubbell has coined “The Age of Aging,” the last of the boomers will turn 50 and leave the portion of market that advertisers have declared matters most: ages 18 to 49.  He firmly holds that marketers need to “get old” because in a few short years there will be more people over age 65 than under age 5 for the first time in world history, and there is “no other global trend that will do more to affect global economies than The Age of Aging.”

Baby Boomers

If marketers are going to do it right, they are going to have to understand that boomers desire to be current and have “FOMO – a Fear of Missing Out.”  A recent Transamerica Retirement Survey found that 65% of boomers either plan to work past 65 or don’t plan to retire, yet few employers are helping their older employees transition to semi-retirement.  Only 21% of the survey respondents said their firms have a program in place to help employees shift from full- to part-time.  And, only 41% of boomers said they’ve kept their skills current, which would be another huge business opportunity for companies that could help boomers stay current with their skills.  Another way companies could benefit would be designing eldercare benefits for employees.

Jim Gilmartin, an expert on marketing and sales to boomers and a principal at Coming of Age, which provides interactive/online marketing services to clients eager to connect with boomers and senior customers, shares many of Hubbell’s sentiments.  He noticed Baby Boomers were being dismissed by Super Bowl ads and devised seven boomer attributes that advertisers should keep in mind to attract lucrative boomer customers:

1.    We demand facts – Boomers want more facts and less hyperbole.

2.    First impressions are more likely to be permanent compared with younger consumers – Boomers react more quickly with negativity and lack of interest than people in their 20s and 30s.  Positive first impressions often result in more faithful boomer customers.

3.    We’re less self-oriented and more altruistic than the younger generation, too – Boomers have a shift toward stronger spiritual values and a greater concern for others; remember, our narcissistic and materialistic values wane in influence.

4.    We spend more time making purchasing decisions – Boomers often ignore time-stamped offers, so don’t bother with the “offer good until…” business.

5.    We see fewer differences between competing products – Boomers typically believe most items in a category are basically the same.

6.    We’re less sensitive to price and more sensitive to value – Boomers combine our spiritual, intellectual, and tangible values when deciding if a product is worth buying; the purchase experience becomes a projection of our whole being.

7.    We’re interested in much more than just a product’s features and benefits – Emotions are the driving forces behind boomers’ purchasing decisions.

So, boomers don’t want to be younger.  They don’t want to be ignored.  They don’t want to be thought of as being less valuable or opposed to new choices and behaviors.  And they certainly don’t want to be treated like the younger demographic because their boomer generation is a brand in itself.  Learning something new and doing something new makes boomers happiest, because they are able to feel smarter, younger, modern, and current.  And this is where companies need to direct their marketing if they are going to reap the potential benefits of The Age of Aging.

Images via Flickr by 401(k) and Quinn Dombrowski
Post by Angela Stringfellow

What the Obama Administration is Doing to Help America’s Caregivers

The Affordable Care Act, initiated by the Obama Administration in 2009, will have certain effects on in-home caregiving. Those that are interested in finding out more may want to discuss the changes with their local health care exchange or expert, as they are quite extensive.

The White House

Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

But in general, the Affordable Care Act makes it easier to get quality health care at a lower cost, and this includes in-home caregiving and care transitions.

Less Expensive, More Benefits

Patients will no longer be able to be denied by their insurance regarding pre-existing health conditions, there will be no coverage caps and prescription costs will be far lower. This is good news for those with in-home caregivers, as many of them were previously affected by these issues.

On the health care side, more funding will be going to direct care workers and family caregivers for elderly patients. The changes made by the Affordable Care Act make it less expensive for most people, especially older adults aged 55-65, to get health care and make preventative health care largely free.

Improve Training for Care Workers

Apart from the benefits for individuals, the Affordable Care Act is projected to bolster the long-term care workforce overall, with training programs that will support these valued workers. Not only do these workers contribute to long-term care in general, but they are also invaluable resources for caregivers that need additional help. States are also encouraged by the Affordable Care Act to expand their current resource offerings under Medicaid.

Resources are being offered to help caregivers make better choices regarding the care of their patients, such as the development of aging and disability centers that will help individuals make difficult decisions regarding care.

Protecting Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

Finally, the Affordable Care Act includes some provisions for protecting those that are currently residing in long-term care facilities. These long-term care changes include increases in reporting and compliance necessary for nursing homes, requiring abuse prevention training and changes in the way nursing home closures and transfers are currently handled. These changes meant to address issues in long-term care elder abuse that have arisen in recent years. Quality of care issues are being regulated more under the Affordable Care Act for the safety of patients.

The Affordable Care Act is undoubtedly a positive thing for many caregivers and their loved ones as it gives them a larger pool of wealth and knowledge from which to draw. Seniors will find that they have significantly more coverage and family caregivers will have a larger set of resources regarding their needs as a caregiver. Caregivers will be able to reach out to a variety of communities and departments for information and help regarding a large volume of caregiving topics.

The Top 6 Reasons Your Assisted Living Community Should Have a Dog

Elderly man with dogHaving a dog, or even multiple animals, in an assisted living facility is rapidly becoming an accepted practice for both the physical and mental health of residents. There are numerous incredible benefits to having a dog, many of which may not be immediately apparent.

1. Increase Physical Activity
An assisted living facility may quickly find that residents are more likely to go outdoors and become active when they know that they can interact with their shared companion. Something as simple as tossing a ball around the yard for a few hours may actually have a measurable impact on a resident’s health, and will get them out into the fresh air and sun.

2. Boost Mood
It’s a well-known, scientific fact that dogs, as well as cats, can be a fantastic mood booster and stress reliever. Having a dog around will balance out the emotions of your residents, and ensure that they are happier within the community. Having a companion around can give a senior a sense of purpose, and make them feel less alone.

3. Improve Health
By increasing the mood of residents overall, a dog can actually increase their health. Studies have shown that the physical health of a person can be affected by how happy and stress-free they feel; thus, having a dog could potentially augment both the length and quality of their lives. Pets have been known to decrease cholesterol levels as well as fight depression.

4. A Draw for Families
Children tend to get fussy when visiting assisted living communities, but having a friendly dog close at hand will distract them and allow for a better quality of visits. Children don’t always understand how important their visiting hours are, and a pet can help by giving them something additional to look forward to.

5. Smooth Transitions
Many of those entering into an assisted care facility may have had pets of their own in the past but may not be able to take care of them on their own any longer. Rather than having to yearn for the pet they once had, they can interact with and take care of a new pet but aren’t solely responsible for all the upkeep.

6. Less Upkeep
Pets are an intrinsic part of life, but a community may be wary of adding resident-owned pets to the mix for a variety of reasons; too many pets can contribute to allergies, they may not be properly taken care of and they may not always be safe.