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Local police departments restore peace of mind by phoning senior citizens once a day

By Jenni Bergal, Stateline and PBS Newshour

March 21, 2017

“Living alone can be tough for seniors. Some don’t have family nearby to check on them, and they worry that if they fall or suffer a medical emergency and can’t get to the phone to seek help, no one will know.

That’s why hundreds of police agencies in small towns, suburbs and rural areas across the country are checking in on seniors who live alone by offering them a free automated phone call every day.

Police officials say the computerized calling systems, which are fairly inexpensive and easy to use, provide an important service to a growing senior population that is expected to reach 65 million by 2025. Already, nearly half of women age 75 and older live alone.

And advocates for older adults say telephone check-in programs can help seniors remain independent in their homes and give them — and their family members — peace of mind.”

Read more about check-in programs

“Pre-hospice” program called Transitions

Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN

‘Pre-Hospice’ Saves Money By Keeping People At Home Near The End Of Life

“Gerald Chinchar isn’t quite at the end of life, but the end is not far away. The 77-year-old fell twice last year, shattering his hip and femur, and now gets around his San Diego home in a wheelchair. His medications fill a dresser drawer, and congestive heart failure puts him at high risk of emergency room visits and long hospital stays.

Chinchar, a Navy veteran who loves TV Westerns, said that’s the last thing he wants. He still likes to go watch his grandchildren’s sporting events and play blackjack at the casino. ‘If they told me I had six months to live or go to the hospital and last two years, I’d say leave me home,’ Chinchar said. ‘That ain’t no trade for me.’

Most aging people would choose to stay home in their last years of life. But for many, it doesn’t work out: They go in and out of hospitals, getting treated for flare-ups of various chronic illnesses. It’s a massive problem that costs the health care system billions of dollars and has galvanized health providers, hospital administrators and policymakers to search for solutions.

Sharp HealthCare, the San Diego health system where Chinchar receives care, has devised a way to fulfill his wishes and reduce costs at the same time. It’s a pre-hospice program called Transitions, designed to give elderly patients the care they want at home and keep them out of the hospital.”

Read more about this pre-hospice program

Aging in place actions in Maine making a difference

Aging in place actions
Elaine Briggs (Photo by Elise Klysa/Kennebec Journal)

Wayne looking for ways to help elderly age in place

A citizens’ group is trying to coordinate seniors’ needs with services that other residents can offer.

By Charles Eichacker, Portland Press Herald, Central Maine

March 14, 2017

“In the 17 years Elaine Briggs has lived at the northern end of Wilson Pond, she’s made the little property her own.

She maintains a flower garden. She makes soap in the basement of her boxy, one-story home with ingredients such as lavender and spearmint. She isn’t a vinyl snob, but maintains a record player and a collection of old country albums. Chickadees compete with squirrels at the feeder on her front lawn, and she sometimes can coax the small birds to peck seeds from the palm of her hand. She can put her kayak in the stream behind her house and paddle to the pond. She likes her neighbors, who have helped move snow from the front of her driveway after heavy storms.

Now 63, she hopes to stay there as long as possible, and also help fellow Wayne residents stay in their homes as they get older.

A group of citizens has been seeking the views of people like Briggs. They want to make Wayne a community where residents can age in place more easily, and they’ve been surveying town residents to get a better idea of the needs of the elderly, as well as what skills and services the young and old alike have to offer.

In doing so, they’re making Wayne just the latest Maine town to launch an aging-in-place initiative. A couple dozen Maine communities have been working with AARP – formerly the American Association of Retired Persons – to implement a set of age-friendly practices.”

Read more about aging in place actions in Maine

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:

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