1. We introduced half-price taxi vouchers for seniors and the disabled. Now seniors can purchase the vouchers at Darien Town Hall and use them for rides on Everyready Taxi. The ride is then only half price.
2. Gallivant (the van for seniors and disabled) board members on our transportation committee helped us with research into area solutions for senior transportation, and in the process, became more energized themselves.
They are doing a new strategic plan, will hire a dispatcher and may purchase another vehicle.
3. AIP conducted a survey among seniors and learned key information that will guide us in our strategic planning. We had an amazing response rate.
4. We held a luncheon with a great speaker on arthritis. Over 100 people attended. Clearly, our seniors want to learn as much as they can about healthy aging.
5. AIP in Darien now has 170 members.
6. We've learned a lot about pros and cons of starting a nonprofit and about the other aging in place organizations in our area and across the nation. And we've continued to learn about agencies and for-profits in our area that help seniors.
7. We have a terrific working relationship with the new head of the Darien Senior Center, Beth Paris.
8. We are forming great plans for 2010 -- all strategically based. Keep checking back for more news.
We are looking forward to a productive new year. I hope you are, too.
• 85% said that they have already called or would call the Aging In Place coordinator.
More information in future blogs.
To learn more about Aging in Place in Darien, call Alyssa Israel at 203-202-2912. Our mission is to help Darien seniors to live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes as long as possible.
Happy holidays. Merry Christmas.
The NCST is pleased to endorse Older Driver Safety Awareness Week Dec. 6 - 12, sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Association. In the spirit of this observance and the awareness of skills necessary to operate a vehicle safely, we are pleased to provide the following resources through the NCST Web site, http://www.
- Safe Driving Programs: AARP's Driver Safety Program
- Safe Driving for Older Adults, tips for older drivers from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
- Supplemental Transportation Programs for Seniors (PDF) - a report by the Beverly Foundation and the AAA Foundation
Take the bus instead of driving!
Life in the suburbs, while great when raising a family, can be really isolating when you suddenly can't drive or when your friends start moving away or dying. The New York Times ran a good article on Sunday, Dec. 6, on life for seniors in the suburbs of New York. It pointed out that senior centers are playing an increasingly important role, as are senior communities and assisted living facilities.
Senior Centers, unfortunately, can have a stigma of being a place for hot lunch for the hardly-ables. That's why this article was good. It showed how such centers can provide transportation, health-related services and the much-needed social hub that prevents isolation. As baby boomers age, senior centers are going to become even more important.
The town I live in (Darien, CT) has an old senior center in need of renovation. But town squabbling and the recession have put questions of renovation or the building of a new center on hold. If I were going to design a senior center for my town, I'd put in a pool. That way, the seniors could get great exercise in the daytime, and the high school swim team could use the pool in the afternoon, before school, evenings and on weekends. In fact, the whole community could have access to it. I'd put the pool in a bubble, so that it could be an outdoor pool in the summer and indoor in the winter.
I'd make the senior center attractive, too, with lots of light and plenty of computers, wii games and places to read, play cards, attend classes and hear lectures.
I'd make the center the home base for Aging in Place -- an organization dedicated to information and referral for all senior services in our area. (full disclosure - I'm on the advisory board)
Here's a link to the NY Times article & a synopsis.
So when I read Jane Brody's column on Hospice Care in the New York Times Science Times on December 1, I knew I had to post a link so that others could read it. I knew I had to write about hospice.
There are many people who do not believe in aging in place, especially at the end. They believe that it's wrong to turn the home into a hospital and have people coming and going. But for the people I know who chose to stay at home and have hospice care come to them, aging -- and dying -- in place was peaceful, loving and graceful.
That said, I one of my friends who had hospice care was not at home. She was in Stamford's Hospice near Stamford Hospital. (Richard L. Rosenthal Hospice Residence). When I visited her there, it was clear that she was getting the loving care she needed outside her home. This choice was exactly right for her and her family.
There is no one right way to die. This choice, if possible, should not be dictated by the well meaning social worker or bureaucrat. Rather, each family and each aging individual needs to pick what is right for them.
Here's a link to Brody's column -- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/health/01brod.html
The Darien Community Association
The Visiting Nurse/ Hospice Care of SW. CT
Alzheimer's Support Group
Invited to attend are caregivers of persons
with diagnosis of Alzheimer's who seek
to improve care and coping by giving
voice to their emotions and sense of loss
Second Wednesday of each month 12 noon-1:00pm
Starting December 9
Limited group seize requires pre-registrationon a first come basis
Facilitator: Edward Simas, Ph.D
Counselor: Transition/loss VNHC
please contact the DCA 655-9050
Research by CTAM, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, shows that seniors are heavy users of email and online shopping. Of folks 65 and over, 77% shop online. And 94% regularly use email.
More interesting statistics are available at: http://www.ctam.com/html/news/releases/091027.htm .
I first read the information at the Center for Media Research.
Check with the IRS, your person attorney or your accountant before you fall for pitches to take out a reverse mortgage.
Here is a quote from the IRS (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p936/ar02.html) :0
"Reverse Mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a loan where the lender pays you (in a lump sum, a monthly advance, a line of credit, or a combination of all three) while you continue to live in your home. With a reverse mortgage, you retain title to your home. Depending on the plan, your reverse mortgage becomes due with interest when you move, sell your home, reach the end of a pre-selected loan period, or die. Because reverse mortgages are considered loan advances and not income, the amount you receive is not taxable. Any interest (including original issue discount) accrued on a reverse mortgage is not deductible until you actually pay it, which is usually when you pay off the loan in full. Your deduction may be limited because a reverse mortgage loan generally is subject to the limit on Home Equity Debt discussed in Part II."
I visited LHC's website after reading about them in Forbes and found the company to be very people-oriented. And it contained an interesting factoid - 3.7 million people in the U.S. over 65 require intermittent care. This care helps keep individuals from being hospitalized, re-hospitalized or institutionalized.
Take a look for yourself.
But most falls happen at home. As an adult, I found my own mother on the floor of her apartment. She had fallen during the night, broken her arm and couldn't get up. Falls like this are fairly common and often lead to rapidly declining health. About one third of people over 65 take spills. More statistics about seniors falling are all laid out in a really interesting article in the New York Times business section on new devices that help to prevent falls by tracking the daily pattern of movements older adults make in their own homes.
I love the idea of using technology to help people age in place successfully. Companies like Intel and General Electric are investing in the field. To read more, use the link below to the Times article (synopsis included below, too).
Watch the Walk and Prevent a Fall
That's why the transportation committee of Aging in Place in Darien has been actively working on finding transportation alternatives for seniors. We now have a half-price taxi voucher program, coordinated out of Darien Social Services. And we are working with the bus system, Gallivant (a van for seniors and disabled) and the Red Cross to keep figuring out ways to make transportation easier to get. Members of churches and other houses of worship usually provide rides to services and to other events or to medical appointments. The problem is that the senior needs to pick up the phone and ask for the ride.
Below is a link to a very good story that was in the New York Times about taking away a car from a dad who did not belong behind the wheel. It's worthwhile reading.
|St. Luke's Church in Darien, CT, is running a series called Aging with Grace. Information below. To find out where St. Luke's is, visit their website at http://www.saintlukesdarien.org/|
Starting This Sunday...November 1, 2009
NEW Discovery Hour Series:
Aging with Grace
9:00 a.m. Sundays in the Parish Hall
November 1: Laconia Therrio -
Finding Our Own Storyteller WithinWhat greater legacy can we leave behind for those we love than our own personal life story? Laconia (Lot) Therrio is a therapist, Stamford Hospital Chaplain, and master professional story teller who utilizes stories from around the world for therapeutic healing and enjoyment. Today, he will borrow from his own life experience as well as scripture, from ancient Wisdom Literature to Jesus' storytelling, to inspire the autobiographer who lives inside us all. It's an hour of entertainment that promises to be useful as well as fun!
November 8: Carole Edelman -
The How and When of Making DifficultIs it still okay for me to continue living alone? If my doctor says "Stop driving," then what? When do these lifestyle changes begin, who is involved in the decision-making, and how does it all become real? Carole Edelman is a certified clinical specialist in gerontology. She is a former faculty member at Yale University School of Nursing and is presently Director of Geriatric Care Management at Waveny Care Network in New Canaan. Her distinguished career as nurse/author/teacher uniquely qualifies her as a compassionate and sensitive advocate for older people and their families. Come hear her wise counsel on many of the tough choices with which aging confronts us.
November 15: Barbara Klau -
Beating Brain DrainIt's no longer a secret that mental stimulation through educational classes, mind games, and challenging reading can keep our brains agile and strong, warding off Alzheimer's and other related diseases. "Bobby" Klau holds a Master's Degree in Education, has worked with seniors for over 20 years, and developed "Exercise Your Mind," a course in methods of memory retention, which she teaches in the Hartford area. Come learn about the important benefits and techniques for exercising your mind.
November 22: Neal Campbell and Lynda Tyson -
You Only Die Once, So Do It Right:Imagine the grace and peace of mind we could give our family members, now and later, by preparing thoughtful and clear direction about end-of-life issues, including a funeral plan. Experience has shown that once we start thinking about funeral and memorial decisions - creating a personal and beautiful liturgy, planning music, readings, Communion (or not), flowers and a final resting place - it can be a satisfying and joy-filled experience for us, too. Saint Luke's own Organist and Director of Music Ministries, Neal Campbell, and The Rev. Lynda Tyson are armed with resources, information, easy-to-use planning materials, and even a few priceless stories to share.
The Priceless Gift of Funeral Plans
Affordable housing is one of the big issues in the current race for First Selectman in Darien, CT. Candidate David Campbell says he wants to study the matter more and fight the state law (8-30g). Candidate Callie Sullivan, who is already serving as a Selectman, says we have to comply with the state law and that the current Board of Selectmen have a plan in place that we need to implement.
I've been giving the whole issue a lot of thought and have changed my initial opinion. Here is where I net out, now.
1. The state law says we have to affordable housing as 10% of our housing stock.
2. We cannot afford to say we will continue to fight the law or just not follow it.
3. Providing affordable housing and having an affordable housing plan are the right things to do.
a. Teachers, town employees, recent college graduates and seniors all would like to be able to afford to live in Darien. They are the people who would live in local affordable housing.
4. While we don’t comply with the law, developers can build anything they want, anywhere they want, as long as the development has some affordable units in it. They can get around our zoning laws.
5. Fighting these developers is expensive and time consuming for the town and for residents, who are spending big bucks on litigation defending their neighborhoods.
6. We can achieve a temporary moratorium on the law’s impact on Darien by building more affordable housing as soon as possible. Then, we can band with other towns to try to change the laws in Hartford.
7. The affordable housing plan that the Selectmen created, and Callie Sullivan and David Bayne support, includes affordable housing at 35 Leroy, redevelopment and expansion at Allen-O’Neill, legal accessory apartments, and affordable apartments in commercial buildings.
8. The old library (35 Leroy) is a good spot for affordable housing because:
a. We own the land and have a developer lined up.
b. The developer is going to be responsible for the property’s upkeep while awaiting permits and financing.
c. The neighbors have agreed it’s OK.
d. The attractive building will remain.
e. It’s near public transportation.
f. It will produce income for the town.
9. While the old library would make a very nice senior center, it would cost millions of dollars to renovate. The current senior center has a professional kitchen and a gym. The seniors get nutritious hot lunches. The gym is used not only for the seniors, but also for the Darien Arts Council for dance classes and other activities for kids. This makes it a useful resource for many.
10. I believe we should renovate the current Senior Center when we have the funds to invest. I also believe that a public/private partnership should be established to enable this to happen. This building could also be used more widely for the good of the entire community, when the seniors are not there.
In conclusion, providing affordable housing is the law. We simply have to do it.
Yesterday, we held the luncheon at the First Congregational Church of Darien and heard Dr. Stuart Novack, Chief of Rheumatology at Norwalk Hospital, speak about rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, as well as gout and osteoporosis. Even though he used medical terms, he was a terrific speaker, holding the 100-member audience rapt.
I was amazed to learn about all the new discoveries medical science is making in these diseases. The human genome project has exploded our knowledge of how our bodies work, how genetic dispositions get set off by some environmental factor, and how to find new cures for old diseases. New medicines are coming on the market and old ones from Europe are finally being approved in the U.S. (like an anti-inflammatory gel you rub on your knees!).
The problem with some of the newer medications is that they are amazingly expensive -- $3,000 for a dose delivered by I.V. or $2,000 for one subcutaneous injection. But they work by getting at the cause, not by just treating the symptoms. We are discovering that arthritis can be treated.
As a jogger, I was particularly happy to learn that long distance running is not harmful and will not make arthritis worse. Exercise is good. It keeps bones and all the muscles supporting the bones strong. (Dr. Novack cited some amazing statistics, but I didn't take notes.) He emphasized also that we need to get enough vitamin D to keep bones strong.
I also learned that the NSAIDs (Advil & Motrin (ibuprofen) and Aleve-type medicines), while having anti-inflammatory properties, are not good to take in excess once you're over 60. There are too many negative side effects.
I could go on and on about what I learned. But the point is that we had a wonderful, informative lunch, with great food supplied by a church member, and a huge crowd. If you have questions about arthritis, go see your doctor. If your primary care doctor can't help you, get thee to a specialist like Dr. Novack. A well informed doctor is what you need.
For more information about Aging in Place in Darien, please visit: http://www.communityfunddarien.org/Aging-In-Place.html
Jane Brody wrote last week about what makes a good nursing homes in her column in the New York Times. It is an article worth reading if you are facing choosing a home for a loved one. Here is the link and a synopsis. If you work in a home or have a loved one in a home, it's even more important to read.
“Community Organizing & Coalition Building”
December 1--New York City
AGENDA and TRAINING OUTLINE
8:30 – 9:00 AM Registration
9:00 – 10:00 AM Introduction to Community Organizing & Coalition Building
• Overview of Community Engagement and Aging in Place
• Training Goals and Objectives
10:00 – 10:45 AM Roles, Responsibilities and Skills of a Community Organizer (paid and volunteer)
• Challenges and Strategies for Recruitment, Training and Support of Volunteers
• Role and Responsibility of Sponsoring Organization and/or Committee
10:45 – 11:00 AM BREAK
11:00 – 12:00 Skills for Coalition Development and Sustainability
• Leadership, Structure, and Responsibilities
• Resource Development and Funding
12:00 – 1:00 PM LUNCH
1:00 – 2:00 PM Community Assessment, Use of Data, and Planning
• Assessment Process for Identifying Community Needs/Issues
• Use of Data
• Development of an Action Plan for Implementation
2:00 – 2:45 PM Monitoring, Implementation, and Evaluation of Outcomes
2:45 – 3:30 PM Group Discussion and Wrap-Up
• Discussion of Unique Issues and Strategies
• Participant Action Steps for Moving Forward
Community Organizing & Coalition Building
R E G I S T R A T I O N F O R M
Please complete and FAX the registration form to Cyndy Marshall (518) 473-6565 by October 28, 2009.
Area Agency or Organization (if applicable): __________________________________
Check with location you will be attending:
___ November 9, Plattsburgh
___ November 12, Kingston
___ November 17, Batavia
___ November 19, Cortland
___ December 1, New York City
Total attending from your organization: _________
Persons attending (please print legibly):
Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________
Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________
Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________
Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________
Name: _______________________________ Title: _________________________________
Contact person for organization* _____________________________________________
*This is the person NYSOFA should contact if there are questions about the registration or if there’s any last minute information to be shared.
Training Locations and Directions
Location: The Conference Room at Plattsburgh International Airport. The Airport is easily accessible, located right off exit 36 of New York’s I-87 at 42 Airport Lane in Plattsburgh. Parking is free. Yes, free, and within an easy walk to the terminal.
Directions: From Albany & Points South Follow I-87 north to exit 36. Take a right onto Route 22 heading toward Plattsburgh. Plattsburgh International Airport is 2 miles (3.2 km) up on your right.
From Potsdam and Points West Follow Route 11 east through Malone. Turn right onto Route 190 and follow for 23.4 miles (37.4 km). After 1 mile, turn left onto Route 3/Blake Road. Turn right onto I-87 South. Take I-87 to exit 36. Take a right onto Route 22 heading toward Plattsburgh. Plattsburgh International Airport is 2 miles (3.2 km) up on your right.
You may also check the Airport’s web-site (www.flyplattsburgh.com) for maps and directions.
Lunch/Break Suggestions: AAA Director Crystal Carter and her staff are generously offering to make coffee, water and light refreshments available the morning of the training. Lunch will be “on your own”. There are several restaurants within two or three miles of the airport including Subway, Burger King, Pizza Hut, 99, Butcher Block, Friendly’s etc. A listing of the nearest restaurants and directions will be provided the day of the training. (FYI--the snack bar located in the airport building is only available to ticketed passengers).
Location: Room BRC 121 at the Ulster County Community College’s Business Resource Center at One Development Court, Kingston, NY 12401. Note: space is rather limited at this site, so registering early is suggested.
Directions: From the NYS Thruway Exit 19 (Kingston): From the Thruway traffic circle, take the Broadway/Kingston exit (Chandler Drive, Route 587). At the first traffic light, turn left onto Albany Avenue and continue for 8 traffic lights. The Business Development Center will be located on your left, at One Development Court (the Ulster County office complex). Landmarks on the left include McDonald's and the King's Valley Diner and Pancake House (formerly Texas Diner). The BRC is at the extreme left of the Development Court complex.
From Route 209 North (from Ellenville):
Take the Kingston exit (Route 28 East) to the traffic circle. Take the Broadway/Kingston exit (Chandler Drive, Route 587). At the first traffic light, turn left onto Albany Avenue and continue for 8 traffic lights. The Business Development Center will be located on your left, at One Development Court. Landmarks on the left include McDonald's and the King's Valley Diner and Pancake House (formerly Texas Diner). The BRC is at the extreme left of the Development Court complex.
You may also Google “Business Resource Center Kingston NY” for additional information and directions.
Lunch/Break Suggestions: Lunch and breaks will be “on your own”. There are a number of eateries, including McDonald’s and a diner nearby.
Location: The large conference room at County Building 2, 3837 West Main Street, Batavia, NY.
Directions: From Thruway Exit 48-Batavia, go straight through at the light onto Park Road, approximately .3 miles. Turn left to stay on Park Road (.8 miles). Turn left onto NY 63/Lewiston Road (.2 miles). Turn right onto NY 5/West Main Street road (1.1 miles). There is a sign located by a long driveway leading back to County Building #2.
Lunch/Break Suggestions: AAA Director Pam Whitmore and her staff are graciously offering coffee and light refreshments for participants arriving for the training. For lunch, there are a variety of fast food eateries (KFC, Long John Silver’s, McDonalds and Subway) as well as an Applebee’s and Denny’s restaurants nearby. In addition, there are soda and snack machines available in the County Building for participants who wish to purchase “lighter” items on-site.
Location: The Assembly Room at Cortland Regional Medical Center, 134 Homer Avenue, Cortland, NY 13045. (Note: AAA Director Carol Deloff recommends using the entrance near the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Once inside, look for the signs for the Assembly Room.)
Directions: The medical center’s web-site (cortlandhospital.org) provides detailed driving directions. When you click on the “Information You Can Use” icon on the left side of the home page, there is a tab for directions on the pull down menu.
Lunch/Break Suggestions: Breaks and lunch will be “on your own.” The Medical Center’s cafeteria is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and coffee can be purchased there before the meeting. The Coffee Shop is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch can be purchased in either location.
New York City—December 1
Location: The Auditorium, VISIONS at Selis Manor, 135 West 23rd Street, NY, NY 10011.
Directions: Take the A, C, E, 1, 9 or F subways to 23rd Street. VISIONS at Selis Manor is located on the north side of the street in the middle of the block between 6th and 7th Avenues.
Lunch/Break Suggestions: There are a number of eateries nearby, including a coffee shop. Lunch and breaks will be “on your own”.
I've copied and pasted the email below. Please visit the sponsor's website for more information.
The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) is pleased to announce
the following training for individuals interested in developing aging in
“Community Organizing & Coalition Building”
December 1--New York City
Necessary Action: Complete the attached registration form and FAX it
to Cyndy Marshall at (518) 473-6565 no later than October 28, 2009.
Training Schedule: The training workshops are scheduled to begin at 9
a.m. and end by 3:45 p.m. Training locations and other information
about the sites is attached.
Registration: There is no fee for registration. Travel and meal costs
are the responsibility of participants. Staff of area agencies on
aging, AAA subcontractors and other NYSOFA grantee organizations may be
able to charge these incidental expenses to allowable budget lines in
federal- or state-funded grants/contracts.
Who Should Attend: These interactive sessions are designed for
individuals interested in creating communities in which older adults can
safely “age in place” with purpose and dignity. For those new to
organizing community initiatives, this workshop will serve as an
introduction; for those more experienced in organizing, it will serve as
a refresher course and provide tools for training others in the
community. The workshops will use a variety of training modalities
including PowerPoint presentation, case studies, small and large group
discussion; and will be tailored to each region in recognition that
strategies for organizing will differ in rural, suburban and urban
Training Facilitator & Content: Susan Weinrich serves as Vice
President of Organizational and Community Development at the New York
Council of Nonprofits (formerly the Council of Community Services of New
York State) where she provides training and technical assistance to
nonprofit organizations and community-based coalitions. Susan has
served as a community organizer addressing issues such as homelessness
and domestic violence. She has a Master’s Degree in Community
A tentative outline for the training is listed.
For More Information:
Please contact Cyndy Marshall, Donna DiCarlo or Digna Swingle at
Cyndy: 518 474-7706 or email@example.com
Donna: 518 474-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Digna: 518 486-2713 or email@example.com
Check out NYSOFA aging-related video content on our website.
Please visit NYSOFA's website at http://www.aging.ny.gov
The lunch is free and will run from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
To reserve your place, please RSVP to Alyssa at 203-202-2912 by October 9.
The First Congregational Church of Darien is located at 14 Brookside Road in Darien, just off the Post Road, near Exit 13 of I-95 and near Goodwives Shopping Center.
Today, many families turn to care managers to assess an older adult's needs and provide and execute a care plan. The managers can be expensive -- charging $100+ per hour. The New York Times recently ran an article about them, which is well worth reading. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/26/health/26patient.html
When I sent the article to my fellow board members of Aging in Place in Darien ("AIP" in Darien, CT), I learned a lot from two people: Beth Paris, who is the Darien Senior Center Coordinator, and Inta Adams, who is in Darien's Social Services Department:
Beth said that care managers usually just do information and referral, not case management. She wanted to make sure that we all knew about SWCAA's care management. SWCAA is the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging.
I took my mother out of a nursing home and enabled her to live in an apartment with home health aides caring for her for a good five years. Those years were a blessing to her. In Connecticut, we now have laws that enable the Medicaid money to follow the patient. This is very helpful to families and individuals, while being fiscally prudent. Aging at home tends to be much more cost-efficient than aging in a nursing home.
Here is the link to the article and a synopsis:
ALOFT does not compete with town services. However, through very active task forces, the organization is zeroing in on improving the delivery of services more efficiently and effectively, specifically taking on health care (encouraging more home health care in the area), transportation, intergenerational activities, livable communities/housing/land use, and more.
They are advocating for the region and towns to find ways to creatively stretch tax dollars in helping people age in place. They loosely follow the BHV model.
Go to the website to learn more. http://www.goaloft.org/
Conference: "Dignity & Choices, A Symposium on End-of-Life Advocacy."
In Washington on 13 and 14 October. National Press Building. Jane Brody is
the Keynote Speaker. Full information:
In states like NY where high deductible plans are outlawed, insurance for a part-time worker or freelance individual is $1,000 per month. In states like CT where they are allowed, the cost is $100 per month. For my daughter who is a nursery school teacher, even $100 per month is hard. She lives in MA, where her premiums are 40% higher than CT and are rising at 16% annually, even with a high deductible plan. (So much for Massachusetts's claim that costs are under control there. And, no, she cannot get subsidized insurance from the state. They turned her down on a bureaucratic technicality.) She can barely make ends meet. This is not right. There are AARP-aged people in similar situations.
The new bill is misguided. It will have highly detrimental, unintended consequences that are far reaching across the economy as it puts health insurance further out of reach for those not employed in a corporation or government system. And it will make people even more insulated from the true costs of medical care. This will not help get costs under control.
We need to get health care costs under control and to put more power of choice into the hands of consumers. We need a plan that people will want to join because it is affordable and protects them from catastrophic costs -- not because they'll be taxed if they don't buy one. The plan before Congress does not do this.
I'm not going to renew my AARP membership because I don't want to belong to an organization that is so short sighted.
Things that make suburbia really nice when you're young - privacy, spread out houses, driving everywhere -- make it very hard when you're older. When you can't drive, you can become isolated. A house with lots of land is hard to take care of. When you need help with everyday tasks, being far from the centers of care and transportation make things really challenging. That's why many older adults move to life care communities, senior living, assisted living, etc.
But as more people age and more people want to age in place, the suburbs may have to change. Some are being redesigned and rebuilt in certain areas of our country to create a space where senior can live independently without leaving the community.
I've love to see this happen in Darien, CT, where I live. We have one area that could be conducive to a mixed-use area that could have market-rate and affordable senior housing, shops, restaurants, activities, outdoor greenways and a social center. I'd love to see our big, local developers join together with town leaders to make something like this happen in the business district of Noroton Heights. Our senior center is in Noroton Heights, so it could be a fine tie-in, especially if the senior center could get some renovation at the same time.
I'm probably dreaming. But in any event, the article in the Journal is really worth reading and pondering. Maybe you can do something in your community. Here is a link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203674704574330801650897252.html
I did, finding her an apartment and a series of home-health-care aides to watch over her. Eventually, Babe (my mom) needed round-the-clock care, and we found a good nursing home for her. During all this, I had to manage her finances. I was an only child, and all the other relatives were dead, so in some ways, this made things a little easier. But I worked in NYC and later had a baby, so I had demands on my time.
My experience is one reason I have become so involved with Aging in Place in Darien. It's also why I found this article in the New York Times --
to be of interest. It's really important to pay attention to finances because people are living longer, and paying for long-term care can really tap resources.
The article is good because it explores lots of facets of caring for aging parents.
Take a look --
Interestingly, friends can influence you in a positive way -- quitting smoking, losing weight -- or negatively -- not studying when a student, gaining weight to the obese stage.
The article was in the New York Times and is based on the long-running Framingham Heart Study in Framingham, Massachusetts. People who stuck around Framingham and basically aged in place have done very, very well.
You can attach a PALS unit to your home. Later, when it isn't needed, it can be removed. I think this is great for older people or disabled people of any age. I started doing some consulting work for the company that makes and installs the PALS units and have been so impressed with what they do and their management.
They have a great story and are really doing good by helping out one Veteran in particular.
You can read more about this at:
Here in Darien, Connecticut, we've introduced a taxi voucher program so that our older residents can ride in Everyready Taxis for half fare. Call Darien Social Services for more information:
Olive Hauser at 656-7328, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Town Hall Social Services office.
What do you think are the best options we can give to seniors to help those who can't drive?
Here is a link to the NY Times article:
A study of the cement used for spinal fractures shows that it may work no better than a placebo. Rest and pain killers work just as well. To learn more, read about the study in the New York Times.
When Carl MacLeod joined the Disabled Veterans of America, he knew he wanted to give back to other veterans like himself. Little did he know that soon he would find himself on the receiving end of help. Diagnosed in 2004 with chronic solvent encephalopathy, also known as “Gulf War Syndrome,” Carl became unable to work as a plant maintenance manager at Clairol. He was also unable to continue to renovate his fixer-upper house in
Carl and Kristy are now living in a half-gutted home along with four of their six children. They have also taken in Carl’s frail parents. Carl has good days in addition to the bad ones. He still manages to assist other disabled vets by coordinating their transportation and helping them fill out disability forms. It’s through the volunteer work for Disabled Veterans of America that another vet, Henry Racki, became aware of Carl’s plight and realized he might be able to provide a solution.
“I wanted to give back to someone who gave to his country,” said Henry, owner of Rockfall Construction, a disabled-veteran-held company. Rockfall does home renovations and builds and installs Practical Assisted Living Solutions (“PALS”) modular additions through its Ready Living Structures Division.
“Anyone who wants to enable aging parents or a disabled loved one to live at home instead of in an institution can attach a PALS modular addition to their house and provide a safe, secure, handicap accessible living environment,” said Henry. “These additions provide independence because they easily meet people’s special needs at a fraction of the cost of assisted living or a nursing home.”
Henry visited Carl with the idea of donating a PALS addition to him, but once he saw how much Carl was trying to do for his family and for others, the extent of the work that needed to be done on the MacLeod home, and the series of unfortunate events that had befallen them, he wanted to do more. “It was like the ‘finger of fate’ had really gone after this guy. And the system had abandoned them.”
Without sufficient disability pay or Carl’s salary, the family is living under a load of debt and cannot take on more. Kristy has a job as an office manager but in this economy is fearful of losing it.
Henry has refused to stand by. He got together with Dick Schmidt, owner of ProBuilt Modular Homes in
Henry’s company can only do so much. He is actively looking for veterans organizations, church groups, other contractors, supply companies or just good people to donate time, talent, materials or funding to facilitate the completion of MacLeods’ home makeover. He estimates that it will cost $40,000 to bring the MacLeod home up to code and provide accessible living to Carl and his parents.
Anyone who would like to help – or knows an organization that can – should contact Henry Racki at 860-790-6291 or email him at: email@example.com.
Kristy MacLeod said in a letter to Henry that he “was truly God sent” and that she and her family will be “forever grateful” to any organization that can help them.
In one story, an older woman forgets her husband as she gets on the bus. Read the story, if you want to know what happened.
The taxpayers and anyone with health insurance are paying for this sort of behavior over and over. But how do we as a nation avoid acting like Big Brother while holding the line on the costs incurred by people who won't take responsibility for their own health? We fine people who don't wear seat belts. Can we fine people for eating hot dogs?
The article (well worth reading) has excellent examples from the Berkshire Medical Center in Massachusetts of how return hospital visits can be minimized. It doesn't have any suggestions on the hot dog problem, however. If you want to read the article, here is the link:
I believe that all of our proposed plans in Congress are just too cumbersome. I fear that public health control will be like dealing with the IRS. My idea is to cover everyone with a $5,000 annual deductible disaster plan. You pay premiums via a low income tax. If you want more coverage, you buy it on the open market through private insurance companies. If you don't have an income, and if you are on some sort of government aid, then the coverage comes for free.
This would make people care more about the first $5,000 they pay for health care. People might ask more questions or take better care of themselves because they'd have a financial incentive. But if they have a catastrophic illness or accident, then they won't be bankrupted.
At the same time, we need to be looking for cost-cutting best practices nationwide and providing incentives to hospitals and doctors to copy them.
If you like my ideas, talk them up.
Another Hurdle to Health Care Reform: Too Few General Practice Doctors - Knowledge@Wharton
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My biggest problem is what the plan will do to small and growing businesses, burdening them with more taxes, penalties and mandates. It will also place a greater burden on the poor working class, forcing them to purchase insurance they can't afford. That is what has happened to my daughter, who is a part-time nursery school teacher in Massachusetts. The state will not approve her application for state-paid insurance because she currently has personal insurance, but she can't afford her premiums. If she drops her insurance, she has to pay a fine to the state. Her employer doesn't cover her. What a mess! Not only that, her insurance in Massachusetts is twice what it was in Connecticut because the insurers in MA must take everyone. Our federal insurance will be a mess like this.
Meanwhile, how can new and small businesses grow or simply stay in business with the sudden new burdens of paying for expensive plans or paying fines? What will part-time workers do? Pay a fine and stay uncovered? How does that help anyone? What will the plan do to people who are aging, laid-off, retired and not covered by Medicare? Can they afford insurance under the new plan?
I went looking for answers in The Wall Street Journal. Good reading. But it didn't make me feel any better.
Older folks don't want to move to assisted living. And anyway, assisted living can be really expensive.
But what does it take to age in place successfully, affordably and safely? This article explores the topic. Well worth reading....
Here is a synopsis:
Check out the blog from the Courant.
Help the MacLeod family turn the page - Susan Campbell | Fear, itself
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This may be one of the best articles I've read so far on the topic. It offers in a sidebar of resources to tap, complete with Web sites. I've put a link below and urge you to read it.
I can't wait for Aging in Place in Darien to have its own Web site and to become an independent nonprofit. We are still a pilot program, under the wing of the Community Fund of Darien. I'm getting really impatient, but I know I have to bide my time and let the process of planning for our future work out in an orderly fashion. I just hope the naysayers who want to keep the organization small and part of some other nonprofit don't win the day. I hope we can find seniors in Darien who will want to become board members and who will want to champion a village or other independent, nonprofit AIP organization in Darien. I hope we can find the impassioned ones.
To read the Boston suburb article, click here:
Here is the first one:
The Dexter-Miller Community, Inc. located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a non-profit neighborhood services cooperative. Members are willing to exchange services with each other to simplify and enhance their quality of life. Members agree that every service exchanged in the community has equal value based solely on the time spent providing it and that everyone has something to offer. Membership will be limited to 50-100 households in Northwest Ann Arbor. When membership approaches 100 households we intend to split into two geographically more compact groups in order to keep management and contacts simple and local. There is a $15.00 initiation fee plus dues of $10.00 per year.
New members receive scrip worth 16 DEXMILS (DM). One DM is worth 15 minutes of service from another member or the loan of equipment for one hour. Each year upon renewal, members may request 8 more DM, if needed. Otherwise, DM are earned by providing services or equipment to other members. A Membership Directory lists services and equipment offered by each household. Those seeking services or equipment call or email a provider directly and arrange the exchange Professional Service contractors recommended by coop members are listed on our website with satisfaction ratings from community members. Combining work of professional contractors with other community members sometimes results in substantial discounts. More information is available at www.DEXMIL.com
http://www.greatbooks.org/THE WATERGATE INITIATIVE/NETWORK
Making Your Good Life Even Better
FROM HERE TO THERE
Whether you live in a city, a suburb, or a rural area – you will benefit by having
these qualities in your life, if you want to stay in your home, and not move to an
1. People: People who you are committed to help when they need it – and --
people whose help you will accept when you need it. Each of us needs to be part
of a defined group in our geographic location -- a Network builds bonds on a daily
basis, weaving an intimate thread of community.
2. Information. The world is changing quickly – we need to be informed so we
can take care of ourselves and respond to the changes. We need information on
medical services and reverse mortgages, and recommendations on everything from
plumbers to contractors. We need to know what’s happening in our neighborhoods
and our local government. We need different kinds of help -- from a drive to the
doctor to spreading the word on our yard sale. We need information on support
groups from caregivers to cancer survivors.
3. A health care team standing by to help you when you need it – for services
beyond what your own doctor provides. That team includes a Home Care
Company, a Geriatric Care Manager, and a Hospice with its Palliative Care
doctors. It certainly includes your local Hospital, with which you can work to
create new programs specific to your Network members.
(Mrs. Arthur Cotton Moore)
Founder: The Watergate Initiative + TWI/Network
What strikes me is that any great initiative, such as improving transportation for seniors, comes from one or two driven individuals with great passion. Successful social entrepreneurship comes from people with a mission, and that mission usually comes from a personal experience or need.
|Volume 5. Summer 2009|
In this Issue
ITNOrlando: We're Off to the Races!
By Fran Carlin-Rogers, Board Member, ITNOrlando
Start Your Engines
Orlando began preparations to expand senior transportation options back in the mid 90s, long before we had ever heard of the Independent Transportation Network®. A visionary leader at the Central Florida Area Agency on Aging recognized that senior transportation was a key component of each strategic plan identifying critical needs of elders. Several programs were started which set a tone of innovation around this topic. Local and statewide transportation summits focusing on the triumvirate of safe roads, safe drivers and transportation alternatives, and an informative publication, "What Do You Do When Your Car Won't Get You There," helped prepare our community to start travelling together.
Sheldon Suroff: ITN Closes the Circle
For Sheldon Suroff, ITNAmerica's newest affiliate ITNStCharles closes a circle that started in 1994 when his son was killed by a 92 year old wrong-way driver suffering from dementia. After Jason's tragic death at 21 years old, Sheldon and his wife Karen turned their grief into activism, establishing a nonprofit organization, Concerned Americans for Responsible Driving (CARD), and creating the Impaired Driver Law.
Volunteering Gives New Perspective on Aging
By Bill Clark, Volunteer Driver,
Getting on in years is not easy, especially when it comes to getting from one place to another. When no family member is available to help, driving yourself to the appointment appears to be the only option. This decision can cause mixed feelings. Eyesight is not what it used to be and reaction time is slower. Guilt about driving under these conditions may arise, but what are the other choices? Aging requires visiting doctors more often, and with blood draws, x-rays, and other transportation needs, it is not unusual to have more than one appointment in a week.
Liberty Mutual Debuts "Driver Seat Game"
Liberty Mutual, ITNAmerica's national insurance partner, launched its online Driver Seat Game, a video game that allows players of all ages to experience first-hand the physical and cognitive limitations that older drivers may experience while operating a motor vehicle. The goal of the game is to make players sensitive to the physical obstacles faced by their parents at various stages of aging and inspire conversations between adult children and their senior parents.
The Older Driver Evaluation Process
Healthcare practitioners play an important role in addressing driving safety with their patients. Changes that often come with age—vision and hearing loss, slower reaction times, chronic illness and medication—can affect driving ability. The problem is that patients might not know it.
|The Road Ahead is the e-newsletter of ITNAmerica, and is generously supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies.|
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