Posts Tagged ‘Aging’

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.

The Last Stop: With Technology, We Try

I think our grands and great-grands find current technology easier than using a knife, fork or spoon. We marvel at them. Technology is not a challenge for children and teenagers; it's a way of life.

In contrast, my age-mates and I find new technology an ongoing struggle. We end up cursing at our smartphones and comp

uters and wish for the olden days.

I find that at my retirement community, computer frustration is a regular part of dinner conversation.

Read more about Margery’s efforts to become more tech-savvy—and why some of her friends choose not to embrace technology—in “Part 10: With Technology, We Try.”

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.”

Four Smart Strategies from Derek Zoolander that Can Help You Prevent Senior Dehydration

As Derek, the title character in “Zoolander,” said, “Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” His words were silly, but his intentions were not.

Proper hydration is essential to life. More than half of our bodies are water. Water helps us digest food, keeps joints working properly and maintains blood pressure and body temperature. But many Americans—and many seniors—still do not drink enough water. Elderly dehydration is common both in assisted living or aging-in-place scenarios.

In this post, we’ll discuss dehydration matters and why seniors are at such great risk. Then, you’ll learn four smart strategies from Derek Zoolander to help prevent senior dehydration.

“I’m a hot little potato right now!”

Dehydration is a major problem for seniors and a leading contributor to elderly
hospitalizations. Thirsty seniors have higher risks of falling and more cognitive difficulty. Also, dehydrated seniors face medical conditions like urinary tract
'Zoolander' star Ben Stillerinfections, kidney stones or constipation. Taken to extremes, severe water loss leads to heat stroke or even death.

Now, the worse news: The natural process of aging makes seniors even more susceptible to dehydration. As we age, our bodies hold less water and we are less aware of body temperature changes. This makes seniors less likely to take in fluids to self-regulate temperature.

Complicating matters, many seniors have difficulty swallowing, so drinking water becomes a painful chore. Further, some seniors restrict their water consumption because of fears of age-related incontinence. Finally, many medications that seniors take cause diuresis, sweating or reduced thirst.

Taken altogether, we’ve got a recipe for a perfect storm for dehydrated seniors. Let’s see what lessons we can learn from international male model Derek Zoolander.

1. The “How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read … if they can’t even fit inside the building?” technique

Derek rejected the school because it was too small for children to fit. But many seniors face the opposite problem. How can we be expected to make sure our seniors drink if they can’t even hold the cups?

Know that your seniors also have a certain set of skills, but those are different than they used to be. The 50-ounce Big Gulp that appeals to a 20-something may look like a Crock-Pot to a 70-something. Help them out by focusing on small amounts first.

Make sure your loved ones have appropriately sized cups, utensils and cutlery. Cups with handles or lids or straws may help them drink in a comfortable manner.

Bonus tip: Place small water bottles around the home for seniors to carry around and keep near their bed. This helps seniors with mobility or memory issues get easy access to water.

2. The “Orange Mocha Frappuccino” technique

Derek’s friends helped him sort through important issues over a few Orange Mocha Frappuccinos. Derek and company knew they could get fluids from non-water sources as well.

Ignore the old “eight glasses of water” rule. Savvy seniors consume fluids in many variations. Add lemon or fruit to water as a hydration hack to make water taste better. One note of caution, though: Seniors should steer clear of alcohol and sugary sports beverages. The former has diuretic effects and the latter may aggravate diabetes.

Seniors can also add fluids by having soup with every meal. Opt for water or broth based soups rather than cream based soups.

Also, many plant-based foods have high water content. Melons, grapefruit, strawberries and raw tomatoes are great natural sources. Throw in raw vegetables and you have a nutritious and hydrating combination.

3. The “Listen to your friend Billy Zane, he’s a cool dude!” technique

When Zoolander needed help, his friend, actor Billy Zane, was there. Be like Billy, and be a friend to a senior in need.

Tell your senior to check his weight daily. Weight loss may be an early sign of dehydration. If he is down a pound, make sure he drinks it up. Also, ask your senior to check his urine color. Make sure his urine is lemonade colored or lighter.

Not everyone lives close enough to their senior to provide daily hydration reminders. Remote caregivers should consider a medical reminder service. Medical reminder services check in with your senior at the same time(s) every day. These systems help make sure he/she remembers to drink enough water (or take proper medications) every day.

4. The “You can read minds?” technique

In one of the most memorable scenes in the film, Zoolander mistakes Matilda for a clairvoyant.

Well, Matilda couldn’t read minds and neither can you.

Rather than try to intuit how much water your senior is drinking, find out for sure. Option number one is to ask on a weekly basis. Let’s try option number two.

Home water delivery services can help seniors get enough water. If you deliver two bottles of water each month, you can use the delivery amounts to ensure your senior is consuming enough water. If the bottles aren’t moving fast, then your senior isn’t drinking enough.

Conclusion

Derek Zoolander only had one skill, “being really, really, really good looking.” Perhaps you don’t have chiseled abs and perfect cheek bones. But, you can use the four techniques above and keep your senior “mer-man” safe and hydrated.

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.



Joan’s Journey: Celebrate the Moments

July 4, 2014, was more than a patriotic day for Goldie, a resident of senior hotel Holiday Villa East (HVE) in Santa Monica, Calif. This splendid holiday was also Goldie’s 100th birthday. Goldie joined the prestigious ranks of centurions—people who have lived to or beyond 100 years.

A delicious barbecue at HVE featured traditional hot dogs, hamburgers and Joan's Journey - Goldie turns 100spicy chicken wings. A mariachi band played while residents, guests and caregivers danced. But the highlight of the celebration occurred when Goldie stood, party-goers applauded and the band serenaded Goldie with “Happy Birthday to You.” As Goldie basked in the beauty of the moment, 104-year-old Jack applauded from a nearby table. Jack is on his way to becoming a supercentenarian—one who has lived to or beyond 110 years.

Welcome, Joan’s Journeyers. Here’s a bit of centenarian trivia. In 2012, the United Nations estimated there were 316,600 living centenarians worldwide. Only 33 people worldwide have indisputably reached 115 years.

John W. Santrock, author of “A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development,” identifies seven factors most important to becoming a centenarian:

  • Heredity and family history;
  • Health, weight and diet;
  • History of past or current smoking;
  • Amount of exercise;
  • Educational level;
  • Personality; and
  • Lifestyle.

Santrock notes the largest groups of centenarians are women who have never been married and people who have been through traumatic life events and learned to cope. Moreover, centenarian lifestyles often include:

  • Nourishment rich in grains, fish, and vegetables;
  • Food plan light in meats, eggs, and dairy products;
  • Low stress;
  • Caring community where seniors are not isolated;
  • Proper health care and personal care;
  • Emphasis on activities like walking and gardening; and
  • Spirituality, where a sense of purpose comes from involvement and prayer eases the mind.
CAT Brings Centurion Lifestyle Changes

Joan's Journey - HVE Resident dances with aide on July 4Joan’s Journeyers, why in a blog series about senior living residences am I presenting a mini-geriatrics seminar? Perhaps it’s obvious from my lead. Our centenarians, Goldie and Jack, magnificently represent folks living the lifestyles described by Santrock. Goldie, Jack and I live in a senior living community that exemplifies centurions.

In the last Joan’s Journey, I described three key words that spell “CAT.” “C” represents changes occurring in my daily life at HVE. “A” stands for the necessary acceptance of new, different and potentially negative situations that may occur. “T” relates to the permission of time I’ve given myself to become comfortable with the changes. In upcoming blogs, I will discuss life as a resident of HVE and how I accept and cope with CAT and a centurion lifestyle.

Journeyers, have you encountered CAT at senior living or along life’s Journey? SeniorHomes.com and I invite you to share your experiences below. Until the next Joan’s Journey, enjoy the trip, day by day.

Joan London, a former Houston Chronicle correspondent and noted magazine writer/editor, now specializes in freelance writing/editing of issues relating to seniors. London moved to a senior community in Southern California, where she has enhanced her quality of life and is close to her children and grandchildren. Follow all of Joan’s Journey at SeniorHomes.com.

Active Northwest Seniors Compete in the 18th Annual Washington State Senior Games

Across the United State this summer, seniors are competing against their peers in senior games—proving that you can be an athlete at any age. In recognition of these games, and with this year being a qualifying year for the National Senior Games in 2015, we are publishing a series of articles about the senior games. Join us as we celebrate the men and women who are redefining active aging.

WA State Senior Games - Athletes hugging

Photo courtesy of Washington State Senior Games

This July, seniors—from Oregon, British Columbia, and even from California and Arizona—will converge in the Olympia area to compete in the Washington State Senior Games (WSSG). For 18 years, these games have enabled seniors the opportunity to compete against their peers in a professional setting and be cheered on by family and friends.

According to Jack Kiley, president of the WSSG, the games came to Washington State late; while the first National Senior Olympic Game was held in 1987 in St. Louis, the games didn’t begin in Washington until 1996. At that time, it was called the Puget Sound Senior Games and there were only a few hundred participants competing in four to five sporting events. Now Kiley says that 23 events are offered with 2,000 participants competing each year, and we are still “trying to get past that 2,000 person plateau,” he says.

Though their games are “very inclusive,” allowing out-of-state seniors to participate, Kiley admits there is difficulty spreading word about Washington’s games due to a limited budget. Though they send flyers to senior centers and YMCAs, it is mostly through word-of-mouth that seniors learn about us and join the games, he explains.

Basketball team at Washington State Senior Games

Photo courtesy of Washington State Senior Games

Another difficulty in attracting participants could also be the stereotype associated with the term senior, Kiley says. Even though the games are open to adults 50 years or older—there was even a 103-year-old shot putter one year—those in their 50s do not consider themselves seniors just yet. The average age of most participants is 62-63.

Of the 23 events offered at this year’s games, seniors can expect some new ones including rock climbing, power walking and trap shooting. Kiley says the board is “open to virtually everything” when it comes to event suggestions, but some might not be held if they cannot find a commissioner to run the event or find a venue to host it.

Because of the diversity of sports and the need for multiple venues to host the events, the events are held around the South Sound area. “We have to pay for most of the venues we use,” Kiley says, and the board strives to find the best venue possible to give the participants the best experience possible. He adds that “the venues like the idea of being part of the games.” As an example of the event sites this year, softball is held in at the Mason County Recreational Area, soccer at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey and shuffleboard at the Little Creek Casino in Shelton.

Athlete participating in bowling at the Washington State Senior Games

Photo courtesy of Washington State Senior Games

With the WSSG being an all-volunteer nonprofit, they depend upon outside funding to support the games. The majority of funding comes from the lodging tax collected in the cities of Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater. Kiley adds that over 30 businesses and governments— including the Nisqually Indian Tribe, Panorama, and Olympics West Retirement Inn—participate significantly to make the games a success. The athletes also support the games through their registration fee.

While it has been suggested to host the games elsewhere in Western Washington, Kiley says the board likes the idea that the games are held in the state capitol. The WSSG are a “significant event in a smaller area,” which means we can attract more attendees, he says.

Though the opening ceremony is July 26 at the Tumwater High School Stadium, several events are being held this weekend, including softball and ballroom dance. Of all the games, Kiley says that softball comprises of one-third (around 600) of the total participants. Track and field has the second highest number of participants at 200. For many of the events, there is an equal participation of the sexes, but “I would love to have more women’s softball and basketball teams,” Kiley says, which only have men teams.

WA State Senior Games - Javelin

Photo courtesy of Washington State Senior Games

With 2014 a qualifying year for the 2015 National Senior Games, Kiley expects there likely will be more participants competing. He says what makes the games unique is the sight of grandparents being cheered on by their families; it is “really a great reverse for the lives of most of us,” seeing the young folks actively cheering us—“it is very sobering and very delightful to see.”

Kiley recommends that those who are interested in participating should visit the WSSG website and take a look at the available events. He also adds that seniors who want to learn how to train should talk with our volunteers and they will be connected with others involved in the sport.

For Kiley, he played tennis in the games during the 2000s. When someone learned he was retired, they asked him to join as a treasurer, which led into the administration, he explains. With most of the board members still working, Kiley takes on many of the responsibilities in managing the day-to-day tasks of organizing the games. And though, at 75, he has every right to enjoy a work-free retirement, Kiley embraces the work because there is “a lot of satisfaction putting the games together, to give these committed senior men and women a chance to compete against their peers.”

Andrea Watts is content writer for SeniorHomes.com. In addition to covering senior living, she also writes on sustainable forestry and agriculture issues. Her writings have appeared in publications that include TimberWest, The Forestry Source and Acres U.S.A.

No Limits: National Parks are More Accessible than You Think

Senior-friendly features at the WWII Memorial

World War II Memorial – Washington, DC (Photo courtesy of NCA)

Summer is here, and a visit to a nearby national park is an easy way to combine the outdoors and history all in one trip. With 401 sites comprising the National Park System (NPS) across the United States, visiting a historic site, battlefield or national park is easier than most people realize. And a hike to the backcountry isn’t required to see the best views. Whether you use a scooter, cane or wheelchair, many national parks allow you the same experience and viewing delights as those without limited mobility.

Every visitor benefits from accessibility features in parks, says Kathy Kupper, a public affairs specialist at the NPS, and they are often in forms that people likely aren’t even aware of—such as benches spaced along a trail, little change in elevation along walking paths, scenic features spaced nearby, and accessible bathrooms. These can all impact the visiting experience, especially for people who can only stand for short periods of time without difficulty.

Hawaii National Park Boardwalk

The Hawaii Volcano boardwalk trail – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was a 2005 Accessibility Award winner. (Photo courtesy of Ray Bloomer, NPS)

With the first parks designed initially for wagons and later automobiles, most parks have a scenic drive that allows visitors to see its features, Kupper explains, adding that overlooks are at the best place to see views that “take your breath away.” She says that after exploring the parks for better views, Ken Burns often returned to overlooks to film scenic vistas for his documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The nature trails around the visitor center also provide a “good thumbprint” of what the park holds. Since many people venture only a quarter mile or so down a trail before turning back, these shorter trails are designed so visitors can see features right away.

The NPS’s formal focus on accessibility started in 1979 with the creation of the Accessibility Office. It has remained a priority ever since, especially under the current director Jonathan B. Jarvis, who is a “strong proponent of accessibility,” says Ray Bloomer, an accessibility specialist for the NPS and director of education and technical assistance for the National Center on Accessibility. A national accessibility taskforce is currently developing a five-year strategy to improve accessibility in the NPS. The focus is on everything a visitor can benefit from, whether it is physical or programmatic accessibility, such as providing educational materials in large-print, Bloomer says.

Pearl Harbor

An example of programmatic accessibility at The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. (Photo courtesy of Ray Bloomer, NPS)

The agency also has an annual Accessibility Award program that serves the dual purpose of recognizing people and parks who have improved accessibility and encouraging employees to do more. Since the awards program started in 1998, Bloomer reports that “awareness has been increasing on a daily basis.” Past winners include Yosemite National Park and Cabrillo National Monument, along with the Gulf Islands National Seashore and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

On each park’s website, the accessibility features are available under the Plan Your Visit tab. For example, on the Yosemite National Park web page, there is an accessibility guide and a visual guide for people with aphasia. “I’m still very proud of how the rangers and volunteers represent the NPS,” Bloomer says, adding that to create the best experience, he encourages people to contact the park prior to visiting, because the NPS “want[s] everyone to have a good visit.”

Broadmoor Seniros at Sutro Baths

Field trips to nearby National Parks are a favorite activity of residents at The Broadmoor in San Francisco. Here they are are at Sutro Baths, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. (Photo courtesy of Ken Johnson)

Good visits are always what the seniors at The Broadmoor, an independent living community for active seniors in San Francisco, experience. Along with his responsibilities of Property Manager, Ken Johnson also coordinates outside activities, and his residents enjoy trips to the nearby national parks, such as Yosemite, Sutro Baths at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Muir Woods. “They tell me where they want to go,” he says, and adds that if he plans to bring a large group to the park, he will call in advance to book a tour. Johnson has always found NPS staff accommodating and helpful whenever his groups visit, always answering the questions his residents ask. And he always makes sure the gift shop is open before scheduling a visit, since his residents like to browse for souvenirs and purchase snacks.

It is not only accessibility features that make national parks an appealing destination for seniors, however. One enticing incentive is the lifetime pass, Kupper says. For only $10, seniors can purchase a pass that can be used for free entrance to sites administered by the NPS, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. For an added bonus, the pass applies to people traveling with them.

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park

A tactile display at The Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, a 2004 Accessibility Award winner. (Photo courtesy of Ray Bloomer, NPS)

Every park has accessible features, not just the large parks, Kupper explains, and while Bloomer acknowledges that not every park is 100 percent accessible, the NPS is actively identifying deficiencies. What complicates the issue is the need to maintain a “balance [of] historic preservation and accessibility,” and he adds that staff also has to consider what can be sustained aesthetically within the natural surroundings.

When you plan your visit it is important to check the park’s accessibility features, and also consider the time of day and year. Bloomer says that while the Statute of Liberty is accessible, there are few places to sit if the lines are long. And when in doubt, do not hesitate to ask the NPS staff for advice.

So what are you waiting for: Find a park and head out!

If you are interested visiting parks that have many accessible features, Bloomer has provided this sample list of some parks.

Andrea Watts is content writer for SeniorHomes.com, and in addition to covering senior living, she also writes on sustainable forestry and agriculture issues. Her writings have appeared in publications that include TimberWest, The Forestry Source and Acres U.S.A.

The Last Stop: Reflections after Five Years

Senior enjoying a dance classAt my retirement community, my friends and I are having a good time. Chronologically we’re old, but our lifestyle is not! There are some residents living here in their sixties but most of us are in our seventies or eighties with even a few in their nineties. No one in their hundreds yet but that may happen.

Whether I call my home a group home, an institution or life on a permanent cruise ship, living here has proven to be a wonderful recreational, social and cultural opportunity for me. To join my community, you must be at least 62 years old and healthy.

According to Karen, a 69-year-old widow, “I got tired having dinner with Brian Williams every night. Sometimes I would switch to PBS but that wasn’t any better. I’ve been a widow for four years. It’s a lonesome life. Now I live with a group of people. I’ve made wonderful friends, and I have someone to have dinner with every night.”

Read my article  “Reflections After Five Years,” and you’ll see that moving to a CCRC was the right choice for me and why I thoroughly recommend it to others.

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.”

Read more about Margery’s experience moving and the challenges that ensued in “The Last Stop: Reflections after Five Years.”

What’s the best community for a parent who has dementia?

In the prior article Finding Care for an Elderly Parent with Substance Abuse: What are my options?, Sandi Flores, a registered nurse with over 25 years of experience in the assisted living industry, described how families may find an appropriate and caring environment for parents in this difficult situation. In this article, she shares her insight on how to determine whether loved ones require assisted living or memory care if they exhibit signs of dementia and a tendency to wander.

Seniors who display wandering behavior require safety measuresWandering is a common symptom of dementia, with the Alzheimer’s Association reporting that six in ten people will wander. The news frequently has articles about seniors becoming lost while running an errand, and though sometimes the family is reunited, unfortunately this is not always the case. For this reason, many communities that provide memory care advertise that they are a secure environment offering features such as alarmed doors, a secured outdoor courtyard, and entrances that are monitored around-the-clock. Many memory care communities also offer a curriculum of activities designed to engage those with dementia, and newer constructions are specifically designed to allow residents to freely and safely wander.

Despite these supportive features, many people do not want their parent to move into memory care and would prefer an assisted living community. The reason for this, Flores says, is that a stigma still exists about memory loss, and in spite of the Alzheimer’s Association efforts and celebrity campaigns to demystify and raise awareness, many families do not want their friends to know their parent is in a memory care community. This results in families in denial of the need of a safe living situation that their parent requires, especially if they exhibit wandering, Flores says.

One thing that complicates choosing an appropriate community is predicting wandering behavior in parents with dementia. “There is not a single validated tool to measure the propensity to wander,” Flores says, adding that a parent may not wander at home, but when placed in a new environment—where everything is unfamiliar—wandering could result. Being able to navigate through the community is important to a resident’s ability to thrive in their new home, and she adds that it is very dangerous if parents are moved into the wrong environment, as their safety could be jeopardized.

Seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia may require specialized memory careWhen advising families who are insistent that memory care is not needed or their parents exhibit only mild symptoms of dementia, Flores recommends assigning a resident buddy upon joining the community. This way, the new resident can be monitored in a less intrusive way to determine if wandering will occur. In her experience, if a parent is prone to wandering, it will happen within 72 hours of moving into their new home. However, even if a community offers more frequent check-ins, this alone is not enough to guarantee wandering will not occur.

Even if a parent with dementia does not exhibit wandering, they could still benefit from the programming that memory care communities offer. “I like it when memory care is available [in addition to assisted living],” Flores says. Many assisted living communities now offer memory care services as well, making the transition to higher levels of care more seamless. Yet, even when families recognize that dementia requires a unique type of care, the steeper costs associated with that care–with monthly prices ranging from $3,500 to over $7,000—cause many to balk at acknowledging a need for memory care.

The good news is that not everyone with dementia wanders or needs an enhanced environment, Flores says. More communities are offering “memory care light” to keep residents comfortable and safe and are using more virtual caregiver technologies to remain non-intrusive, demonstrating what she proudly refers to as “creative side of nursing.”

Flores emphasizes that families should be honest about what their parent needs, not only to remain safe, but also to live the rest of their life comfortably. And if memory care is required, she says families should not “think of it as a sentence,” but as an opportunity because these communities offer meaningful activities that promote their parents’ well-being, reconnecting them with the beauty of life.

Andrea Watts is content writer for SeniorHomes.com, and in addition to covering senior living, she also writes on sustainable forestry and agriculture issues. Her writings have appeared in publications that include TimberWestThe Forestry Source and Acres U.S.A.

Joan’s Journey: Senior Living Begins

Welcome Joan’s Journeyers. I apologize, sort of, for the cliffhanger or “teaser,” as I ended our last blog with “Wam!Oliver - 052314 Boom! Whoosh through the air — like a cartoon character, I flew from the floor, my body in the air, landing face down on the platform” at my grandson Oliver’s 4th Birthday Party in Los Angeles.

What happened next?

After a few seconds of coming to grip with the accident, I knew something was terribly wrong with my hand, arm and shoulder to my neck. They felt dead — not painful — dead.

The very last thing I wanted was to ruin Oliver’s party — especially since he has warmed my heart on an earlier trip with a special party invitation. Quickly and quietly my son Mark and his friend Steve moved me away from the party play equipment. We waited for an ambulance to rush me to Cedars Sinai Medical Center Emergency Room. From the play area, Oliver sadly waved as the paramedics carried me on a stretcher to the ambulance. I told Oliver I was very sorry to leave early from his fun party.

Joan London, a former Houston Chronicle newspaper correspondent, is a freelance medical and social service writer. Ms. London recently moved from Baltimore to a senior housing residence in Santa Monica, CA, where she is closer to her children and grandchildren.

To read the rest of Joan’s post, view “Part 18: Senior Living Begins” of Joan’s Journey.

The Last Stop: Why the Last Stop?

Margery off to a new adventureI was surprised when my fellow resident told me she didn’t like the name of this series. She found it too depressing.  To me, when one chooses to live in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), which is what my senior residence is, one is making an end of life decision and it becomes the Last Stop. Sure, I find my death hard to think about but I am convinced that I have found a good way to live before it happens.

Another friend, hearing the criticism of the title, suggested I call the series Moving on. What do my readers think?

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.”

Read more about Margery’s experience moving and the challenges that ensued in “The Last Stop: Why the Last Stop?“.