Walk more = live longer, doctors & end of life, liquid meal replacements, and top-rated senior housing communities

shoes

Seniors who walk more live longer.

Most doctors wouldn’t want heroic measures at the end of life.

Liquid meal replacements can’t replace the real thing.

SeniorAdvisor.com has released its list of top-rated senior housing communities.

Sex in senior housing, long term care insurance, nursing home lawsuit, and doing brain exercises

teen with condom

Sex in senior housing isn’t always handled well by staff.

Missing one payment can put your long-term-care insurance in jeopardy.

A jury awards over $3 million in nursing home lawsuit.

Doing brain exercises can help delay your move into senior housing.

New email scams, retirement is becoming more difficult, helping parents control money better, and finding an assisted living roommate

Danger

A new scam is out there: Don’t open any emails sending you condolences about your “dead friend.”

Retirement is going to become more difficult all around the globe.

Giving your aging parent a prepaid debit card might help them maintain independence but also prevent fraud.

Assisted living with a roommate may help make it more affordable for more seniors.

How to Avoid Butting Heads with Your Older Parents

Note: This post originally appeared at AlexisAbramson.com. If you’re interested in providing articles for SeniorHousingMove.com, please see our submission guidelines.

Alexis Abramson, PhD

Dr. Alexis

You can’t eliminate all disagreements and uncomfortable situations with your older parents, but you can often resolve conflicts and make your relationships run more smoothly, if you just know how!  The following 10 tips will help you avoid butting heads with your aging loved ones.

  1.  Start early.  There are some issues that almost all caregivers will face at some point, including changing living arrangements, drawing up a will or giving up driving.  If they haven’t arisen yet, discussing them with your older family member before decisions must be made can be a lot less stressful.  For starters – just click here and you can find a list of the five most important legal documents your parents need to have in place prior to a potential caregiving crisis.
  2. Pick your battles.  As a caregiver, you will most likely encounter situations where you have to override your parent’s wish to keep him or her safe and well.  But do so only when necessary!  If your father wants to drive his car after his license has been revoked, for example, it’s your responsibility to stop him.  If he wants to wear red plaid pants with a blue striped shirt or put up his Christmas tree in August, let it slide.
  3. Foster your parent’s independence.  Some older adults sit back and prefer to be waited on.  But many would much rather do things themselves – if they can.  By allowing your parents to do the tasks they are physically able to do you will help boost their self-esteem and maintain their independence.  One great technology that emphasizes wellness, communication, autonomy and social connectivity is the VTech CareLine ™ – this easy-to-use home phone system was designed with experts in aging and technology to answer seniors’ daily communications needs and support hearing, dexterity or vision challenges.
  4. Enlist the help of professionals.  Even though you may be closer to your aging loved one than anyone else, that doesn’t mean you have to be the bearer of all bad news.  If you think your mom needs to see a psychiatrist – or trade in her high-heel pumps for safer shoes – it might make sense to have a trusted doctor, social worker or gerontologist broach the subject with her.  A great resource for professional guidance is the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers.
  5. Let your parents live in their own world.  If your father’s college football stories or your mother’s insistence that she’s never met your husband (despite the fact that she’s known him for 30 years) drives you up a wall, don’t let on.  How many times has your child or best friend told you the same story over and over?  Try acting amazed when you hear about that winning touchdown for the thousandth time or tell your mom that you’d love to introduce her to your husband (just make sure you let him in on the role playing!).  If you feel your loved one is experiencing an unusual amount of memory loss you might want to go to the Alzheimer’s Association website for additional information.
  6. Don’t make assumptions.  If you need to make a decision regarding your loved one’s care, don’t always assume you know what’s best for them.  One article I read recently said that most caregivers thought a parent would be better off moving in with them, while most older adults said they would prefer to stay in their own homes or live in an assisted-living facility. If your parent is cognitively and mentally able to participate in decisions regarding his or her own care, by all means ask for input.
  7. Consider your parent’s feelings.  It’s not always easy getting older.  If you look at things from your parent’s perspective – and consider that you will most likely be in the same situation one day – you’ll realize it’s smarter to let go of past grudges that might lead to conflict and simply forgive.  One of the reasons we tend to hold on to grudges is a sense of guilt – the overall feeling that we aren’t doing enough for our aging loved ones, ourselves or anyone else for that matter!  Click here to find my 10 tips for saying goodbye to caregiver guilt.
  8. Allow your parent to call the shots – sometimes.  Many of the challenges that arise in caregiving come when parents feel they are no longer useful or in control.  As with parenting your own child, it’s important to give your parents some power in the family – particularly if he or she lives in your home with you.  If possible, allow them to plan meals, or pick TV shows or family activities now and then.
  9. Use positive reinforcement.  It’s easy to criticize when things aren’t going well, especially when you’re overwhelmed and exhausted.  But instead of complaining when things go wrong, try praising your parent when things go right.  Chances are your parent wants to please you and will appreciate the encouragement.  The Family Caregiver Alliance offers four different online support groups for caregivers and their aging loved ones – these groups might just help ease the stress you’re feeling and help you employ useful coping mechanisms.
  10. Reconsider your arrangements.  If constant conflicts with your parents are having a negative impact on your health and your immediate family, you may have no choice but to make other arrangements for their care.  If he or she is living in your house, perhaps your parent could live with another family member or move into an assisted-living residence.  If you’re providing most of the care – perhaps another family member could take over some of the duties.  If you’re looking for a referral source to help you find a housing resource in your area, there’s a great new website called www.caresquad.com that will point you in the right direction! 

Disclaimer:  Content and suggestions provided within should not be construed as a formal recommendation and AJA Associates, LLC makes no representations, endorsements or warranties relating to the accuracy, use or completeness of the information.

ALEXIS ABRAMSON, Ph.D. is cited as America’s leading, impassioned champion for the dignity and independence of those over 50. Abramson is the author of two
highly acclaimed books – The Caregivers 
Survival Handbook and Home Safety for Seniors.  For more information go to www.alexisabramson.com. 

Follow Alexis Abramson, Ph.D.  Facebook | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter  

Should I Take the Keys Away from my Parents?

Note: This post originally appeared at AlexisAbramson.com. If you’re interested in providing articles for SeniorHousingMove.com, please see our submission guidelines.

Alexis Abramson, PhD

Dr. Alexis

The Pew Research Center reminds us that 8,000 boomers are turning 65 every day for the next 16 years. By 2030, they’ll represent almost one in five drivers. Safe driving is an important issue for everyone — especially seniors! Although older drivers are at a higher risk of becoming involved in an automobile accident than younger drivers, not everyone is an “accident waiting to happen” — and in fact many seniors are better drivers than today’s young folks.

The United States has unfortunately created a culture where in most situations we are forced to drive, and we embrace it. We use our cars to get our basic necessities, participate in social events and “the automobile” is often considered to be the cornerstone of American independence. Most people would drive from their bed to the fridge if they could! I recently wrote a blog about livable communities that are specifically developed to reduce the amount of driving as we age by making public transportation, social activities, parks and recreation more convenient — hopefully this trend is on the rise as the graying of America becomes more imminent.

We all age at different rates and with different needs. This is important to keep in mind because periodically we must check for those symptoms and outside causes that may impact our loved one’s ability to drive safely. Seniors are more likely to receive traffic citations when it comes to small things such as failing to yield, turning improperly and running stop signs. These types of incidents may be early signs of decreased driving ability. Research tells us that automotive collisions become significantly more deadly after a driver has reached the age of 70. The good thing is that in today’s world there’s plenty of information to help better educate caregivers and their aging loved one’s so that we can hopefully avoid this problem.

If you feel you need to have a conversation about safe driving with an aging loved one it’s important to be delicate in your approach. The AAA online senior drivers quiz discusses common risk factors and instructs readers as to how to avoid potentially dangerous driving habits or behaviors — this is a good place to start. Here are some warning signs AARP considers to be the most important indicators as to when someone should begin to limit driving or stop driving all together.

  • Feeling uncomfortable and nervous or fearful while driving
  • Dents and scrapes on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs etc.
  • Difficulty staying in the lane of travel
  • Getting lost
  • Trouble paying attention to signals, road signs and pavement markings
  • Slower response rates to unexpected situations
  • Medical conditions or medications that may be affecting the ability to handle the car safely
  • Frequent “close calls” (i.e. almost crashing)
  • Trouble judging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance/exit ramps
  • Other drivers honking at you and instances when you are angry at other drivers
  • Friends or relatives not wanting to drive with you
  • Difficulty seeing the sides of the road when looking straight ahead
  • Being easily distracted or having a hard time concentrating while driving
  • Difficulty turning around to check over your shoulder while backing up or changing lanes
  • Frequent traffic tickets or “warnings” by traffic or law enforcement officers

If some of these signs seem to be a concern for you or an aging loved one you might want to consider consulting a doctor or a professional in the field. Stay safe. Care for your safety and others.

Disclaimer:  Content and suggestions provided within should not be construed as a formal recommendation and AJA Associates, LLC makes no representations, endorsements or warranties relating to the accuracy, use or completeness of the information.

ALEXIS ABRAMSON, Ph.D. is cited as America’s leading, impassioned champion for the dignity and independence of those over 50. Abramson is the author of two 
highly acclaimed books – The Caregivers 
Survival Handbook and Home Safety for Seniors.  For more information go to www.alexisabramson.com.

Livable Communities of the Future

Note: This post originally appeared at AlexisAbramson.com. If you’re interested in providing articles for SeniorHousingMove.com, please see our submission guidelines.

Alexis Abramson, PhD

Dr. Alexis

As our society moves towards more sustainable living practices, one trend that will benefit people as they age is the increased availability of livable communities where convenience and socializing are built-in luxuries.  Hopefully, as we continue to upgrade our neighborhoods they will be universally designed to be more aesthetically pleasing and accessible for all. Features such as safer, barrier-free buildings, parks and streets will make neighborhoods easy to navigate for both an 80-something senior with a walker and a 20-something mom pushing a stroller!

“While some streets do provide a safe pedestrian environment, it may not be a pleasant one; the absence of benches, scarce landscaping, and storefronts set back from the sidewalk do little to encourage walking” writes the advocacy group Smart Growth America.  Well-planned livable communities, for all intents and purposes, allow one the benefit of living in a city without the stress of high-crime rates, run down buildings, streets without sufficient lighting, etc.

Furthermore, successful livable communities have organized activities to promote intergenerational interactions, such as reading programs where older adults are paired with young people through the public library system.  Without a doubt, closer-knit communities also offer more spontaneous moments to enjoy activities such as musical performances, farmers markets with local produce and lively streets lined with outdoor dining choices.

One thing to remember is that with increased  socialization and independence comes the need to make sure you surround yourself with products and services that allow for constant personal independence. A folding cane is good to keep with you in case you feel the need for a bit of extra assistance while walking the streets of the neighborhood. Purchasing an all-in-one telephone and safety device such as the VTech CareLineTM system can help make sure you communicate and stay connected with your family members. Also, a full page magnifying reader to assist you as you tackle the morning paper can be quite helpful in reading small print size. These are all great devices to add to the enjoyment of a livable environment.

As our population continues to age, better access to healthcare is also a key feature offered in this type of living.  If older adults can easily get to their medical providers by themselves, they will feel empowered by not having to continually rely on others for routine health matters.  Also, with respect to health, there is no debate that livable (and walk-able) communities make it easier to integrate exercise into daily living. Yoga and meditation in the park, community swimming pools, and simply not getting in a car as much will do wonders for your overall physical self.

Partners for Livable Communities is a group that promotes invigorating activities with its overall central focus on basic good living, especially through cultural outlets. Dance, theater, writing and painting are just some of the outlets they recommend we all embrace as we age. As a part of my 30 Bonus Years initiative, I also highly encourage people to explore activities they didn’t have a chance to take on earlier in life.  I firmly believe livable communities promote a sense of engagement – clearly a critical component to fully embracing your later years.

I recently had the opportunity to be featured in a PSA supporting livable communities that was presented at the National Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. The goal was to showcase the importance of creating environments that are more user-friendly for all members of our society – regardless of age!  In order to produce the infrastructure needed to support more livable communities, numerous task forces and initiatives have been formed. These policymakers realize that the need for livable communities is not a generational issue, it simply makes good sense for the future of America.

MetLife, in collaboration with Stanford University, recently released a study citing Livable Community Indicators, mentioning a wide range of bustling metropolises and university towns working toward creating age-friendly environments. The takeaway here is to choose a place where there is accessible healthcare, solid employment/retirement opportunities, cultural outlets and a strong community of engagement.  As the Internet and technology have made us a more distant society, choosing to live in a sustainable, livable community enables us to connect with people face-to-face, one of the healthiest forms of interaction we can enjoy!

Disclaimer:  Content and suggestions provided within should not be construed as a formal recommendation and AJA Associates, LLC makes no representations, endorsements or warranties relating to the accuracy, use or completeness of the information.

ALEXIS ABRAMSON, Ph.D. is cited as America’s leading, impassioned champion for the dignity and independence of those over 50. Abramson is the author of two 
highly acclaimed books – The Caregivers 
Survival Handbook and Home Safety for Seniors.  For more information go to www.alexisabramson.com.

Disabilities, signing up for Medicare, self-neglect, and nontraditional retirement

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Almost everyone will suffer from sort of disability in his/her lifetime, especially late in life.

A Boomer talks about the difficulty of signing up for Medicare.

How do you help people who don’t want help?  Self neglect is a growing problem for seniors living on their own.

Retirement living is expanding beyond traditional retirement communities.

“Human Walking Care” © 2011 Abdulsalam Haykal, Attribution 3.0 Generic http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/