Starting the conversation

starting the conversationHow to talk about care options with aging parents

By Cathy Molitoris, Lancaster Online

May 23, 2017

“You know the time has come. Maybe Mom is having difficulty navigating the stairs, or Dad is unable to keep track of his medication easily. It’s time to have The Talk. It’s time to discuss care options for your aging parents.

Adult children may find it difficult to bring up the subject of in-home help with their parents, or suggest the idea of moving to a care facility, but it’s important, says Ray Landis, advocacy manager of AARP in Harrisburg.

There are many signs it’s time to have this talk, he says.

‘Mobility is really the key factor for older people in maintaining their independence,’ he notes. ‘One of the biggest things that adult children of older individuals should be looking for is any problem with mobility.’

For example, are your parents having difficulty going up and down the steps? Have they slipped and fallen?

‘Do an evaluation of where they’re living,” Landis says. “Are there hand grips in the shower or bath?’

Lynn McCabe, information and referral supervisor for the Lancaster County Office of Aging, says increased difficulty in managing activities of daily living — from bathing and dressing, to paying bills, cooking or doing laundry — should be a sign that it’s time to talk about options.”

When it’s time to have the talk, McCabe says unless there’s an immediate crisis, the subject should be approached carefully, respectfully and in gradual increments.

Read more for detailed information on starting the conversation

Aging in place technology

My Mom is 83, lives alone and does not wear a monitored emergency alert device nor does she own a cell phone.  No one in the family has the legal right to assist her; that right falls to a former employer and friend of hers (her decision). Feeling helpless, I prayed for guidance on how to aid her while also not upsetting her.  I decided on purchasing some items to help her daily:  two suction cup grab bars for her shower/bath area, an adjustable hand bed rail, and a call button alarm system from Amazon.   They will be delivered directly to her home this week.  I believe the alarm system, if she chooses to use it, could be useful if she falls at home or has an emergency.  The alarm should be loud enough to alert a neighbor.  While I wish I could afford the monthly fee associated with a 24/7 monitored emergency alarm system, I think the call button alarm system could help with alerting neighbors in the near future.

Technology designers have really embraced the problems seniors face when they want to age in place. This is a great article which describes some of the latest and greatest aging in place technology if you can afford them:

Reverse mortgages–buyer beware

reverse mortgages

Feds fine reverse mortgage lenders for false advertising

“In past columns I have written that reverse mortgages have become more advantageous for consumers aged 62 and older. That’s because of recent HUD regulatory changes and because some lenders have reduced the initial costs of obtaining these mortgages.

Still, consumers must beware. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has identified three lenders who have engaged in deceptive and illegal advertising practices: American Advisors Group, Reverse Mortgage Solutions and Aegean Financial.

Together, these companies have incurred civil penalties totaling $790,000 and will have to modify their advertising policies so that consumers will not be deceived.

Some of the illegal advertisements in question stated that borrowers could not lose their homes, cannot be forced to leave and/or that always retain ownership. In reality, reverse mortgage contracts specify that borrowers must pay homeowner insurance and real estate taxes, maintain the property and comply with other requirements. If the borrower does not do all of these things, the lender can foreclose on the home. If the borrower faces foreclosure, he will lose his home, will be forced to leave and will no longer retain ownership.

In the future, the lenders will have to modify their advertising so that borrowers know that unless they continue to pay all related homeowner insurance and real estate taxes and maintain their property, they can lose their property through foreclosure.”

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From the Center of Retirement Research…Senior housing

Image result for elderly loneliness images Senior Housing a Remedy for Loneliness?

by Kimberly Blanton, Squared Away Blog

August 25, 2016

“After his wife of 36 years died from cancer, Dick St. Lawrence experienced something new: loneliness.

‘Worst feeling in the world,’ St. Lawrence, 81, said about Linda St. Lawrence’s death in the winter of 2014.

Like many widows and widowers before him, he had to build a new life for himself, despite having the comfort of a large family of four living children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. His first small step was accepting an invitation to play poker at Shillman House, an independent housing community for seniors. The man who called to invite St. Lawrence knew a woman who used to play Mahjongg with Linda.

Next thing he knew, he’d sold their family home in Framingham, Mass., around the corner from Shillman House, and settled into one of its 150 apartments. Now he plays two poker games a week, works out at his old gym, and socializes with Shillman’s residents every evening in the dining room. At night, his Cairn terrier, Rusty, keeps him company during Red Sox games on television.

‘I want to visit as long as I can,’ Dick St. Lawrence jokes about his plan to spend his final days there.

The vast majority of baby boomers in an AARP survey said they want to age in their homes ‘as long as possible.’  But when the rubber meets the road – in old age – the elderly often learn that isolation is bad for their psyche and their health.

There are downsides even to living in a community for independent seniors, with the constant reminders of the vulnerabilities that come with aging. When a Shillman resident suddenly becomes ill and is driven away in an ambulance, dread quickly spreads among the residents that he or she might not be coming back.

Still, they say, the positives far outweigh the negatives. All in their 80s, the seniors interviewed have visibly slowed down but are still enjoying vigorous social lives.”

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Inspirational and innovative idea

“Take a look inside the Dutch retirement home where students live for free when they spend 30 hours a month socializing with the older residents.”

(via SBS Dateline)


From the Center for Retirement Research…

Housing, Health Are 1/2 of Elderly’s Costs


Places to retire for good health

places to retire

From the Editors of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance…12 Great Places to Retire for Good Health

July 2016

“The most important component of a happy retirement? It’s not financial security (although that’s nice to have) or proximity to family and friends. It’s good health.

With that in mind, we chose retirement destinations that are havens for healthy living, with lots of opportunities to pursue an active lifestyle and great medical facilities. Using data provided by Trulia, the online real estate marketplace, we identified neighborhoods that have quiet streets, trails, parks, golf courses and other amenities, and easy access to hospitals and pharmacies.

Our destinations span the country and range from walkable neighborhoods in big cities to small towns with top-ranked hospitals. Most of our neighborhoods are in cities with good air quality (which is why you don’t see any Southern California cities on the list) and low crime rates. And with the exception of Omaha and Billings, all are in states that are tax-friendly or tax-neutral for retirees. We’ve listed them from smallest to largest population.”

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