Aging in Place in 2009

When I look back at 2009, it's easy to think about how hard the year has been. The recession has had a decidedly negative impact on so many. Yet, I feel really satisfied with one aspect of the past year -- the progress we've made with Aging in Place in Darien.

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.

Aging in Place in Darien Survey Results

In October Aging in Place in Darien conducted a survey among all the seniors (55+) in Darien (about 2,000). A total of 293 Darien residents completed the survey and provided valuable information to our Strategic Planning Committee. We learned that seniors in our town are just like ones nationwide: 90% want to live in their own home as long as possible. They also believe that they'll seek help in achieving that goal.
•    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.

What Happens As We Age

The New York Times had an interesting Op-Ed piece on what happens as we age. It's all statistics - not prose -- and covers health, daily living and attitudes. Clearly arthritis, hypertension and difficulty driving at night are among the top problems. But the attitudes toward love and sex were interesting, too, especially comparing men and women. Take a look:

National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

 It's really tough when you feel that your parents should not be driving anymore. Driving in this country is tantamount to freedom. But this week may be your chance to broach the subject.

I have copied and pasted this information from the National Council on Senior Transportation. 

This is Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
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,

Transportation News for Darien, CT

The town of Darien now has blue bus stop signs along the bus route on the Post Road. This will be very helpful to seniors and others who wish to take public transportation. The buses are senior-friendly, and seniors may ride at a reduced fare – only 60 cents. Tokens can be purchased at Stop and Shop in Noroton Heights. Buses run every 15 to 20 minutes. Regular fare is $1.25.

Take the bus instead of driving!

Seniors in the Suburbs

I live in a suburb of New York, and I must say that when I think of getting old, I often think it would be easier to live in the city. Public transportation is great. There are lots of major teaching hospitals and great doctors. You can have your food delivered, and there are so many things to do. Just looking out the window can be interesting.

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.
Suburbs See a Challenge as Residents Grow Older
Published: December 6, 2009
As many New York suburbs find themselves with an increasingly older population, communities must adapt to serve changing needs.

The Good of Hospice Care

I've known three people who were in hospice care, two friends from my church in Connecticut and my uncle in California. In each case, I was so impressed with the quality of the care. Truly, these people received highly caring, gracious care. I felt like the home health aides and nurses were angels, taking their gifts for helping the dying and applying them here, now, on Earth.

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 --

In Hospice, Care and Comfort as Life Wanes
Published: December 1, 2009
Patients receiving hospice care tend to live longer and die more peacefully than those who get intensive care for their disease after the treatment no longer helps.

Darien, CT, Alzheimer's Support Group

The Darien Community Association
The Visiting Nurse/ Hospice Care of SW. CT

Alzheimer's Support Group
For Caregivers

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

For more information,
please contact the DCA 655-9050

Seniors Are Big Internet Users

One of the frustrations I've faced in my Aging in Place volunteer work is the commonly held notion by my fellow board members that seniors ("matures") do not use the Internet. I have been lobbying for the creation of a website and the use of email to reach out to the community of seniors. But now I have proof that using the Internet to get out our information makes sense!

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: .

I first read the information at the Center for Media Research.

Reverse Mortgages May Be Too Expensive

If you're thinking of taking out a reverse mortgage so that you can afford to age in place, here's something you should consider: the interest is not deductible until you pay the loan off. Add this to the high interest rates charged, and you might be better off taking out a home equity line of credit. That means not only are the interest rates on such mortgages high, but they are even higher than you probably thought.

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 ( :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."

Top Small Business - LHC Group

Forbes Magazine has a new list of the 200 Best Small Businesses (November 2, 2009). Ranked 4th is LHC Group. This company acquires home health care companies and has expanded to 18 states from Louisiana. The company provides nursing, hospice and long-term care.

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.

New Device for Preventing Falls

When I was a little kid, my grandmother got pushed out of a revolving door at Bloomingdale's in NYC and broke her hip. I had this image in my six-year-old mind of my grandmother sprawled on the sidewalk outside Bloomingdale's. I can still picture it.

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
Published: November 8, 2009
Researchers are applying tools like wireless motion sensors in their quest to prevent the elderly from falling in their homes.

When It's Time to Stop Driving

One of the most ticklish situations adult children face is getting mom or dad to give up the keys to the car. This is also one of the most difficult situations seniors face when they decide to age in place. People who live in assisted living can take a van provided by the complex or snag rides with friends. But when you live alone, giving up the car means giving up a huge amount of independence. Yet, not giving up the car can mean bad accidents with tragic outcomes.

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.

Car Thief
Published: November 1, 2009
When your (elderly) father won’t give you the keys.

St. Luke's Church in Darien, CT, has Aging with Grace Series

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

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 Within
What 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!

Friends - GraceNovember 8: Carole Edelman -
The How and When of Making Difficult
Lifestyle Changes

Is 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.

Friends - GraceNovember 15: Barbara Klau -
Beating Brain Drain
It'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.

Friends - Grace
November 22: Neal Campbell and Lynda Tyson -
You Only Die Once, So Do It Right:
The Priceless Gift of Funeral Plans
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.

Where I Stand on Affordable Housing in Darien

How I Stand on Affordable Housing in Darien, CT.

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.

Learning About Arthritis

When our Aging in Place in Darien information committee decided to have a doctor talk about arthritis at our first annual luncheon, I thought it would be a depressing topic. I was wrong!

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:

Choosing a Nursing Home

I've been lucky. I found a good nursing home for my mother when she was suffering from confusion. But it was a matter of trial and error. The first one was a horrible experience. After six months, I took her out and hired help for her so that she could live in her own apartment. But eventually, I had to go nursing home hunting again. I found a much better one with a caring staff the second time around. My mother-in-law is also in a really nice home with a good staff that seems to stay in good spirits and actively interacts with the patients.

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.
Nursing Homes That Belie the Bad Image
Published: October 6, 2009
A facility in Miami could serve as a model for others across the nation.

News From National Center on Senior Transportation

I am posting this newsletter to spread all the useful news.

Welcome to the National Center on Senior Transportation's online newsletter.

The news today:

"Complete Streets for an Aging America" is topic of NCST's next Webinar
The National Center on Senior Transportation will host a free Webinar from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Time Nov. 4. Register now for the program, "Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America, Opportunities for Creating Livable Communities," based on a report recently released by AARP. The report offers guidance to planners, engineers and others involved in making streets safer and more navigable for older travelers. Presenters will be Jana Lynott, strategic policy advisor for AARP’s Public Policy Institute, and Lucinda Shannon, NCST training and technical assistance specialist.

NCST invites applications for the 2010 Student Scholars program
For a second year, the NCST will sponsor a University Student Scholars Program, and applications are now available. Amounts of up to $2,000 will be awarded to graduate-level students to conduct projects that expand upon current transportation/mobility-related efforts that benefit older adults and transportation service delivery networks. The successful projects from the program’s first year also are described on the NCST Web pages about this important initiative.

New NCST publication addresses key issues in senior transportation
The NCST is pleased to present a publication titled “Senior Transportation Today,” which provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities involved in senior transportation. The paper addresses the need to increase public knowledge about transportation options for older people; aspects of coordination, cooperation and integration; volunteer programs; financing approaches; and using technology to improve services. Promising practices are also described. The paper was developed with aging and transportation professionals in mind, and includes both annotated citations and a resource list. It may be downloaded from the Library of the NCST Web site,

New publication is about healthy aging
Now available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Aging Initiative is “Growing Smarter, Living Healthier: A Guide to Smart Growth and Active Aging.” The guidebook goes beyond the fundamental principles of neighborhood and town design to promote awareness among older adults on why community design matters and how to get involved in decisions about growth. Transportation and mobility are key components in such planning and decision making. The guidebook also contains a self-assessment tool that allows communities to rate themselves. The publication is available electronically on the Aging Initiative’s Web site, and it can also be obtained in hard copy by ordering it online.

YouTube video encourages citizen participation in transportation planning
“Citizen’s Guide: Regional Transportation Planning” is a 6-minute 24-second video about the necessity and value of public participation in the planning process of local and regional governments working toward safe, effective and efficient public transportation. Narrator Brian Kennedy, a transportation planning consultant who contracts with the Federal Transit Administration as well as state and regional governments, also guides viewers in making their participation as meaningful as possible.

New program supports family conversations about transition from driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Society on Aging have developed the Driving Transitions Education Program, offering tips and tools to provide practitioners the confidence to act as consultants to families or approach the older driver in useful discussion about driving transitions. This free, downloadable resource has prepared scripts for presentations to community groups, staff, older adults and caregivers, as well as exercises and resource lists.

Study reveals lack of awareness of driving and medication dangers
According to a new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 95 percent of respondents 55 and older have one or more medical conditions and 78 percent use one or more medications, yet only 28 percent indicated some awareness of the potential impact on driving performance associated with those medications.

Community Building for Aging in Place - Training in NY

Below is information on the Community and Coalition Building Program put on by The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA). It's a training day for individuals interested in developing aging in place initiatives:

“Community Organizing & Coalition Building”
November 9--Plattsburgh
November 12--Kingston
November 17--Batavia
November 19--Cortland
December 1--New York City


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


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* _____________________________________________

Telephone: __________________________________________________________________

E-Mail: ______________________________________________________________________

*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

Plattsburgh—November 9

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 ( 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).

Kingston—November 12

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.

Batavia—November 17

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.

Cortland—November 19

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 ( 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”.

How to Organize a Community for Aging in Place

I just got this notice from a Westchester County, NY, colleague about a series of workshops for people who want to create and organize communities to support aging in place. The workshops look great!

I've copied and pasted the email below. Please visit the sponsor's website for more information.

To: Westchester Fairfield Regional Coalition
Below is information that may of some interest to you:

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) is pleased to announce
the following training for individuals interested in developing aging in
place initiatives:

“Community Organizing & Coalition Building”

November 9--Plattsburgh
November 12--Kingston
November 17--Batavia
November 19--Cortland
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
Economic Development.

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
Donna: 518 474-0441 or
Digna: 518 486-2713 or

Check out NYSOFA aging-related video content on our website.

Please visit NYSOFA's website at

Talk on New Arthritis Cures

Aging in Place in Darien and the Women's Association of the First Congregational Church of Darien are co-sponsoring the first annual Aging in Place luncheon on Wednesday, October 14, 2009. Our featured speaker is Dr. Stuart Novack, Chief of Rheumatology at Norwalk Hospital. He is supposed to be a really great speaker. His topic is "New Aspects of Diagnosis and Treatment of Arthritis."

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.

Do You Need a Geriatric Care Manager?

When my mother had dementia and I helped her age at home, I basically did everything myself. I coordinated all the care. I didn't know about geriatric care managers. I did get help from Family and Children's Aid (as it was called then), who sent the Visiting Nurse to my mom once a month and provided an incredible home health aide.

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.

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.

Inta said:
"We do know of geriatric care managers in this area, and they provide a valuable service at a cost.( about $100 per hour, which can add up quickly)
Our Darien Social Services office provides evaluation, guidance, information on available resources and services for AIP to family members,spouses,and adult kids at NO COST... Many calls we get are from adult kids seeking advice about available services for their parents.
We are not available 24 hrs. as some care managers might be, but we respond to all work hour calls, and try to involve the family to make the final decisions based on available information."

Going Home From a Nursing Home

Did you know that in more and more states that Medicaid will help fund home health aides so that you can leave a nursing home and get help at home? This is really welcome news, which was featured in an article in the New York Times on September 19, 2009.

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:

Helping Elderly Leave Nursing Homes for a Home
Published: September 19, 2009
More states are aiming to disprove the notion that once people have settled into a nursing home, they will stay.

ALOFT - Rural/Small Town Aging in Place

ALOFT - Active Living Over Fifty, which is in northern Westchester, NY, cuts across eight small towns to connect older adults who want to stay in their homes with all the support systems that already exist through towns and agencies. It is a membership organization that also provides social activities and does advocacy. The members are encouraged to connect to their town, houses of worship and other organizations -- and to connect with each other.

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.

End of Life Symposium Information

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:

AARP Is Wrong About Health Care Bill

AARP is wrong to support the new health care bill. The proposed health care reform bill will seriously harm any older adult not yet covered by Medicare who is an entrepreneur, freelancer, business owner, starving artist or part-time worker. We need a plan that lets people self-insure for the small stuff but protects us from catastrophic health care costs -- in other words, a high deductible plan. That is the only plan that is reasonable for people who can barely afford insurance now. It also makes people think twice before approving lots of tests or running to the doctor for the sniffles. It puts control in the hands of the consumer. But the current plan outlaws high deductible plans. This is crazy.

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.

Can Suburbia Be More Livable?

The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009) ran a huge article on how communities can help older adults age in place by making the community more senior friendly - Making Suburbia More Livable.

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:

Financial Strain of Caring for Parents

When you need to take care of your older parents, it can be a drain on your emotions and your finances. I know this from first-hand experience. After a massive stroke, which left my intelligent mother permanently confused, I cared for her for eight years. I found her a nursing home after her hospital stay. But after 6 months, she begged me to take her out.

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 --
Taking Care of Parents Also Means Taking Care of Finances,

Friends Can Make You Healthier

Here is a link to a fascinating article on how friendships can help you age successfully and stay healthier. The more friends you have, the better off you are.

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.

Family gets help from vets’ group- The New Haven Register - Serving Greater New Haven, CT

Family gets help from vets’ group- The New Haven Register - Serving Greater New Haven, CT

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Practical Assisted Living Structures

The first PALS unit is about to be installed at the East Haven home of a Vet. PALS stands for Practical Assisted Living Structures. It's great for anyone who wants to stay in their home but needs the bedroom and bathroom to be accessible and safe.

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:

Health Care Comments

I've started reading Mike Critelli's "Open Mike" blog. His insight into health care issues is excellent. Mike was CEO of Pitney Bowes. I know him personally, and he is very, very intelligent. Here's a link to his blog. The most recent one is on dialysis and Medicare.

New Transportation Options for Seniors

New York City is going to use school buses to take seniors to the grocery store. I love the idea of using idle school buses, but an article in the New York Times made it sound like some seniors are dubious. The city is also going to use a taxi voucher program.

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 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:

School Buses May Give Older New Yorkers a Lift
Published: August 26, 2009
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced an initiative that would help New Yorkers who are 60 and older with transportation and would renovate senior centers.

Cement for Spine Fractures May Not Work

Here is another real-world example of how the health care industry forges ahead with new treatments and technology that drive up costs, while never knowing how well they work. This is why health care has become so expensive that many of us can't afford it.

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.

Studies Question Using Cement for Spine Injuries
Published: August 6, 2009
Research into effectiveness of a procedure in use since the 1990s comes as the Obama administration calls for assessing how health care money is spent.

Disabled Vet Helps Disabled Vet

West Haven, CT

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 West Haven, Connecticut, to be handicap accessible. Fate interfered further when his elderly father suffered a debilitating heart attack, and Carl and his wife, Kristy, discovered multiple bureaucracies blocking their access to adequate disability payments.

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 Mifflintown, PA, and developed a plan to provide Carl and his family with a PALS unit for their home. “I’m now assisting the MacLeods to complete the entire renovation project. We’ve done a plot plan and a master construction plan, secured the zoning variances and building permits, and are preparing the ground for the PALS addition. This is like an ‘Extreme Makeover Home Edition’, but we don’t have TV sponsors picking up the tab.”

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:

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.

Aging in New York City

The Metropolitan Diary in the New York Times often reminds me of why I love New York City. This week it reminded me of why NYC is a good city for older people. It has two great stories of people being kind to seniors on the NY buses. No wonder my mom loved living in NYC when she was old. And she always took the bus.

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.

Eating a Hot Dog Can Send You to the Hospital

How can the nation get people to take care of their own health? How do you keep a heart patient from eating a hot dog on the 4th of July? The Wall Street Journal ran an article on "Cutting Repeat Hospital Trips" which included the story of a woman who didn't care if eating a hot dog would put her back into the hospital. She ate the dog and baked beans -- both loaded with blood-pressure-raising sodium. The next day she was hospitalized.

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

Will the new health-care reform make it too hard to find a family doctor, especially one who will take good care of seniors? This is a really important point. There is a shortage of doctors and longer waits to see them in Massachusetts, where everyone has to be covered or pay a fine. Knowledge @Wharton takes a hard look at this issue. Worth reading.
Another Hurdle to Health Care Reform: Too Few General Practice Doctors - Knowledge@Wharton

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Health-Care Questions

I listened to Obama last night, and he was so persuasive. Then I thought back to what I'd read about the details of the health-care overhaul in the Wall Street Journal, and I went back to having doubts.

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.

Growth of Industry to Support Aging in Place

Read all about it! There is an entire industry that has sprung up to help people age in place. And the recession is having an impact on the trend. The New York Times business section has a great article on this topic.

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:

Making Home a Safer Place, Affordably
Published: July 18, 2009
If older people choose to remain in houses where they are comfortable, there are many ways to shore up their homes’ safety

Help the MacLeod family turn the page - Susan Campbell | Fear, itself

This is the story of a vet helping a vet. I wrote up the story for Henry Racki so that he could help this veteran. He has sent it out to the press, and it has been picked up by a blog and sent around. Henry and his Rockfall company make modular additions for homes that enable people to age in place. It's great for disabled folks, too.

Check out the blog from the Courant.

Help the MacLeod family turn the page - Susan Campbell | Fear, itself

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More Villages Help People Stay in Their Homes

A member of our Aging in Place in Darien Board of Advisers just sent me yet another article on the spread of aging-in-place organizations. Wow. This trend is really picking up momentum. The article from is about "villages" (based on the Beacon Hill Village model) springing up in more Boston suburbs like Newton, Sudbury and Wellesley. The recession is making the alternative of staying in your community and home even more practical, as moving to assisted living is an expensive proposition.

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:

Successful Aging and Dying

I've just read a wonderful, moving article about successful aging and dying in the New York Times. It's about a convent of sisters (nuns) in Rochester who've figured out what is important as one becomes ill and frail. They have an expert in aging who helps them not over medicate. The article is well worth reading. Jane Gross wrote the story. She's done a lot of great stories on aging, including the one about Beacon Hill Village several years ago.


Sisters Face Death With Dignity and Reverence
Published: July 9, 2009
For end-of-life care, a group of convent sisters rely on social networks rather than aggressive medical intervention.

Dexter-Miller Community, Inc. - Ann Arbor, Michigan

In an effort to help people all over the country know about the groups that have sprung up to help people successfully stay in their homes as they age, I'm collecting information and posting descriptions of organizations dedicated to that cause.

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

Allan Feldt

Essentials of Successful Aging

The head of the Watergate Initiative has written a one-page guide to successful aging. I have permission to post it here. I found it terrific. WATERGATE INITIATIVE/NETWORK

Making Your Good Life Even Better


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
institutional environment.

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.

Take care,

Patricia Moore

(Mrs. Arthur Cotton Moore)

Founder: The Watergate Initiative + TWI/Network

Updates on Senior Transportation - ITN

I just got the latest ITN America newsletter via email. I'm going to paste it below.

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.

Read on....

ITNAmerica E-newsletter
The Road Ahead E-newsletter ITNAmerica
Volume 5. Summer 2009

In this Issue

ITNOrlando: We're Off to the Races!

Sheldon Suroff: ITN Closes the Circle

Volunteering Gives New Perspective on Aging

Liberty Mutual Debuts "Driver Seat Game"

The Older Driver Evaluation Process

Liberty Mutual
The Liberty Mutual and ITNAmerica Partnership. ITNAmerica is excited to announce our partnership with Liberty Mutual, one of the nation's leading auto, home and life insurers. As the National Insurance Partner to ITNAmerica and our affiliate communities, Liberty Mutual has embraced ITN's mission to support safe, senior mobility and developed resources for seniors and their families to make good, safe transportation decisions found at

Donate to ITNAmerica

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.

Read more....

Sheldon Suroff

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.

Read more....

Bill Clark

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.

Read more....

Liberty Mutual

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.

Read more....

The Older Driver Evaluation Process

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.

Read more....

The Road Ahead is the e-newsletter of ITNAmerica, and is generously supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies.
© 2008 ITNAmerica. All Rights Reserved.