Why I’m Grateful For My Caregiver

TY CGThis is an amazing and inspirational video done by the Alzheimer’s Association, “Why I’m Grateful For My Caregiver.”  It brought such a smile to our face, and we know you’ll enjoy it too. You may not hear it as much as you should but you are appreciated! Thank you to all caregivers!

Guide to Preventing Falls: A Free Online Program

Are you a caregiver for a friend or family member who depends on your care and assistance to remain living in her or his own home? Are you a caregiver for a spouse or loved one who lives with you?senior walking

Pew Research Center (2013) reports the 39% of U.S. adults provide care for a loved one and many navigate care with the help of technology. Caregivers are reported to be “online health information consumers” who are more likely than non-caregivers to go online to look for health information.

B-Better: Caregiver Guide to Preventing Dependent’s Falls is a FREE online course available through Oregon State University’s – Professional and Continuing Education. The course is designed for anyone who provides in-home care to a more dependent adult; or anyone looking to learn how to help her or himself or older adults reduce their risk of slips, trips and unexpected falls at home.  The B-Better Online Module is divided into four sections that you can complete at your own pace. The course is available at: B Better: Caregiver Guide to Preventing Dependent’s Falls.

For additional information, please contact Deborah.John@oregonstate.edu. This project was funded by Clackamas County 2013 HEAL Community Grant award to OSU Extension Family & Community Health program in Clackamas County, a key partner in engAGE in Community for Age-Friendly Clackamas County.

Hearthstone WWII Veteran and Daughter take “Trip of a Lifetime” to Washington, D.C.

Blog Post by Jean Blackburn

I was privileged to interview Penny Holcomb (whom many of us know and love at Penny and DadHearthstone of Murrayhill) and her father, Murray Hale, about their inspiring Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., in September of this year. Their four-day trip — with 50 Oregon World War II Veterans and an equal number of guardians, plus team leaders and trip leaders — included two days touring the WWII and other war memorials in our nation’s capitol. The trip was organized by Honor Flight of Eastern Oregon and Honor Flight Portland Oregon, which are two regional hubs of the national, non-profit organization called Honor Flight Network.

Honor Flight Network and its regional hubs are dedicated to transporting as many United States military Veterans as possible to see “their memorials” in Washington, D.C. The trips are at no cost to the Veterans (guardians pay their own way). Currently these organizations are reaching out to WWII Veterans, most of whom are over the age of 90 and dying at the rate of more than 600 each day, but they also accept applications from terminally ill Veterans of other wars.

One of the remarkable aspects of Honor Flight trips is their emphasis on fulfilling the needs and requests of the Veterans. Trip leaders make it clear to guardians that these trips are for the Veterans, and that the Veterans are to be honored in every way. Guardians are instructed to “make sure your Veteran does not pay for anything” on the trip, and trained on measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of each Veteran.

According to Murray and Penny, every last detail of their Honor Flight trip was perfectly planned, organized, and fulfilled.  All accommodations – including the flights, hotel, food and ground transportation — were top-notch. After a full day of travel from Portland to D.C., the Honor Flight group of more than 100 settled in at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia (which was, to quote Penny, “the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in”).

The next two days were spent traveling by tour bus to the numerous national war memorials. The days were full (wake up calls at 5 a.m. — which Murray said, “brought back memories of being in the military and experiencing reveille,” aka bugle calls). In addition to the WWII Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns, one of the most emotional destinations was the Iwo Jima Memorial commemorating the raising of the American flag at Suribachi, Japan. Three of the Honor Flight’s 50 Veterans had fought in The Battle of IwoJima VetsIwo Jima on February 19, 1944.

Murray informed me that, coincidentally, February 19, 1944, was also the day when his Army battalion had “their most perfect day of the war.”  On that day General MacArthur ordered 100 men from the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division to rescue 2,000 civilians held captive in an internment camp in Los Banos, Luzon (MacArthur had reason to believe they were to be killed at the end of the war). Murray is very proud of the men who parachuted in to rescue the 2,000 civilians — all of whom were saved but for one Filipino scout. Although he was in the hospital at the time of the rescue (Murray was awarded three Purple Hearts for his war injuries), he was extremely proud of what his battalion accomplished that day.

When I asked Murray to share his favorite parts of the trip, there was no hesitation: “The best part was to share this experience with my daughter. The connection we have because of this trip is so powerful.”

Murray went on to say that the trip was profoundly meaningful in other ways, as well, including the reception the 50 Veterans received from the public. He explained that everywhere they went adults and children alike expressed their gratitude for the Veterans’ service with cheers, applause, handshakes and salutes. He found this to be surprising, and deeply moving. Penny said the public reception affected her the same way. She recalled an instance when her dad was approached by a mother whose son was fighting in Afghanistan. The mother took Murray’s hand, thanking him for serving our country; Murray replied by thanking her for her son’s service. Both were choking back tears during the encounter.

Another highlight for Murray was meeting “the highest ranking woman in the U.S. Army,” 4-star General Ann Dunwoody, at the WWII Memorial. Fortunately Penny was able to capture a photo of their chance encounter.Lady Vet

Murray and Penny both agree that the Honor Flight program for military Veterans is a “big thing,” and that WWII Veterans need to take advantage of this opportunity. They have found many WWII Veterans who resist applying for various reasons — minimizing their war contributions, apprehensive due to physical limitations, anxious about taking a cross-country trip. They emphasized that the tour group had three nurses and a physician traveling with them, and that Veterans are always encouraged to use wheelchairs when they get off the bus. The organizers make sure there is plenty of food and water available, and take great care to ensure quick access to toilet facilities. They do everything possible to meet the specific needs of each Veteran.

Both Murray and Penny ended our conversation by saying, “It was the trip of a lifetime,” and urging all WWII Veterans to submit their applications to the Honor Flight organization. To learn more about the Honor Flight Network and its regional hubs, go to www.HonorFlight.org.  (Be sure to use the “org” suffix, as there are confusingly similar websites that do not represent the official Honor Flight Network.)

Be A Santa To A Senior

King City Regal Courier Article on Home Instead’s Holiday Giving Program – Barbara Sherman, November 28

Each year, the Home Instead Senior Care®  partners with local stores, businesses, nonprofits and other organizations in the community to deliver gifts to lonely and financially challenged seniors through the Be a Santa to a Senior® program. There are many seniors who would not receive gifts during the holiday season if it were not for this program. Volunteers and gift donations needed.BASTAS

This year we are partnering with The Meals on Wheels People in Tigard and in Forest Grove to deliver gifts to seniors in each community.

How it works:

  • Remove an ornament from the wreath (gift ideas are printed on each ornament)
  • Purchase the gift(s) listed.
  • Bring the ornament and gift back to participating store and give to store employee or place in the bin under the wreath

Home Instead Senior Care employees will then wrap the gifts and the Meals on Wheels drivers will deliver them the week of December 16th.

Read a story about how gift giving touched the lives of a senior from one Home Instead franchise

In 2006, Be a Santa to a Senior volunteers visited a local nursing facility and distributed gifts to a number of residents, including one 87-year-old woman whom we’ll call Mary. She was pleased to receive her gift and thanked us profusely, but it wasn’t until we returned to give Mary another gift in 2007 that we recognized the true value of Be a Santa to a Senior.

When we entered Mary’s room for our second visit, we noticed that the only card on her bulletin board was the Be a Santa to a Senior card from the previous year. As we spoke with her caregivers we found out that our Christmas card and gift were the only items she had received throughout the year. Mary re-read the card regularly to help keep that memory alive.

Please help us spread holiday cheer to lonely or financially-challenged seniors in our area through the Be a Santa to a Senior program.  In Forest Grove  the giving wreath is at Bi-Mart (3225 Pacific Ave. Forest Grove), in Tigard the giving wreath is at McCann’s Pharmacy (15685 Sw 116th Ave, Tigard)

7 Ways to Investigate Your Loved One’s Needs During a Holiday Visit

Blog post by Mike Brunt

The holidays are a fun time of year but they may be stressful too, especially if you’re visiting aging parents or relatives. This article offers very good advice on what to look for with your aging loved ones that may indicate they need additional help.caregivercouple

As you pile the gifts into the back of the car and check off any last-minute errands from your list before heading home for the holidays, you might also want to prepare to handle any changes you notice in your aging loved ones. Keep your eyes open for these seven common issues that can threaten a senior’s independence.

  1. Pain. Does your mother now pull up a stool by the sink to peel the potatoes? Does she wince when she bends down? Does she complain about a bad back? If you notice any red flags, try gently asking her, “How long has your back been hurting you?” Even if she tries to pretend she’s managing fine, consider helping her schedule a doctor’s appointment “just to be sure.”
  2. Memory. Does she have trouble recalling events from that morning? Has she told you the same story over and over? You may want to keep a list of concerns to bring up with her primary care physician or neurologist.
  3. Depression. If you see any hints of irritability, sadness or sleep difficulties, these could be signs of depression. Depression is common among seniors, and any related concerns should be checked out by a doctor or mental health care professional.
  4. Social Engagement. Ask your mother to tell you about her friends. Social seniors generally have a healthier and more optimistic outlook on life. If she doesn’t have a strong social network, look into community activities that she may enjoy or companionship services.
  5. Safety. If your mother has more difficulty walking, make sure she has a cane, walker or the proper support; remove throw rugs or other potential tripping hazards; and look into installing grab bars and no-slip strips where needed. If you’re worried about falls or other safety issues, look into getting a medical alert system or hiring a CAREGiverSM from the Home Instead Senior Care® network who can check up on her frequently.
  6. Housekeeping. As seniors experience declining health, they may have more trouble keeping up with the housework. If you notice the house looks more unkempt than usual, consider senior care services that include light housekeeping.
  7. Medication. Try to notice if your senior loved one is taking the appropriate pills at mealtimes or before bed and if she is keeping the pillbox organized. If she is not reliable with a medication schedule, you may want to look into home care services that provide medication reminders.

How to Address the Issues You Uncover

Even if you meet with some resistance when gently confronting a loved one about potential issues you may observe during your visit, it is in both your and your loved one’s best interest to find a solution that can help keep him or her safe and independent at home.

If you’re unsure about the best way to diplomatically discuss issues with your loved one, download a conversation starter guide.

For any physical or mental health concerns you may have, consulting your aging loved one’s physician might be the best thing to do. It’s better to address a concern early than wait until it becomes a health emergency.

If you get the sense that your loved one needs more assistance with tasks of daily living, look into local in-home care services. The Home Instead Senior Care network offers free care consultations that allow you and your family to sit down and discuss care options with a home care professional, without you having to pay for the consultation or committing to services.Get in touch with your local office to schedule your free consultation

10 Holiday Requests That Won’t Make Seniors’ Gift Lists

Blog post by Liz Fischer

Halloween’s over, Christmas merchandise is out, in a few days the music in stores will be Christmas, time to start making lists. What do I get for Mom, Grandma, Dad, Aunt Linda? I found this list on a Home Instead Senior Care website and it’s perfect.

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While material gifts could satisfy the desires of a senior love done, why  not choose a present Christmasthat is even more meaningful-a gift from the heart? Family caregivers and senior care professionals won’t likely find these requests on a senior’s wish list:

1. Take a senior shopping. Make it a special day by taking your older adult to a favorite store or create an online shopping experience he or she won’t forget.

2. Lend a hand. Carry on the holiday cooking traditions asking the senior to help where he or she can. Or ask people to bring their favorite dish.

3. Wrap and send packages. Arthritis can make wrapping those holiday presents a challenge, so too can shipping gifts to loved ones afar. Why  not schedule a gift wrapping afternoon complete with hot chocolate, cookies and plenty of family stories?

4. Deck the halls. Make decorating a multigenerational activity by sending over the grand kids or great-grandchildren.

5. Send holiday greetings. The handwritten Christmas cards is one of the most popular traditions for seniors. Offer to spend an afternoon writing greetings.

6. Plan a fun event. Caroling is a fun activity for most any age. Why not get a group of your senior loved one’s friends together to serenade other older adults in an assisted living facility or nursing home?

7. Celebrate the reason for the season. Be flexible and change traditions if necessary. For instance, attend an early Christmas Eve service, not midnight Mass.

8. Focus on others. Get the entire family involved in gathering supplies for a homeless shelter or serving a holiday meal.

9. Stay connected. Help an older adult connect with loved ones far away with the latest technology such as Skype.

10. Give the gift of time. Sometimes all an older adult wants is companionship, whether it’s a few moments of the day or a driving tour to view holiday lights. If you are short of time, consider the assistance of a family friend or neighbor, or help of a Home Instead CAREGiver.

This list gave me some good ideas for my parents, it helped reduce my stress of finding the perfect gift and the ideas “are easy on the pocketbook” (an old phrase my Grandma often used). Which ideas are you going to use?

 

Ten Tips for Success with People with Dementia

Blog post by Christy Turner, Golden Lifecare Solutions, LLCchristy-turner

Christy is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) and Dementia Care Unit Manager (CDCM). She specializes in effective non-pharmalogical approaches to dementia care and is passionate about helping families create moments of joy in their caregiving journey. She has eleven years experience working with elders and their families. Christy offers these tips for success when with people who have Dementia:

  1. Offer positive reinforcement.  Encourage, reassure, and come to the rescue!
  2. Treat pain.  People with dementia are not always able to accurately report pain or where it hurts, but they are in high mileage bodies.  Give prescribed medications
  3. Give ample time to complete tasks.  Use concrete language, task segment to 1-2 steps at a time, use visual and non-verbal cues, keep it simple, and always allow extra time
  4. Don’t create dependence.  Give ample time to complete tasks, rather than falling into the trap of doing it for him/her because it’s quicker that way.  Calmly talk the person through the task while giving positive feedback and praise
  5. Create success.  Keep it simple, use visual and non-verbal cues, be positive, and allow ample time for task completion
  6. Be mindful of the environment you create.  Keep the environment calm, low-key, and stay positive.  People may not understand what you say, but they always understand how you make them feel.  That includes your body language and tone of voice.
  7. Be an example.  If you want the person to do a task or engage in an activity, show him/her what to do by starting the task yourself.  Use visual cues, such as starting to fold the laundry yourself
  8. DO NOT ARGUE.  EVER.  We always, always, always step into the person’s reality; we never try to drag him/her into our reality.  Be in the moment together
  9. Socialization is important.  Help the person make a connection with others by making introductions.  Set the person up for success
  10. How important is it?  Remember, a dementia-related behavior is only an attempt to communicate.  What you see as distressful may not be for the person with dementia.  Be sure to know the difference.

Please visit the Golden Lifecare Solutions website for more information on how Christy can help you through the challenges of making decisions about care, finances, living arrangements, driving, and more when dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Getting to the Root of Dental Problems

Blog post by Mike Brunt

This is an interesting article on dental problems as they relate to overall health. It was in the Senior Spirit from the Society of Certified Senior Advisors (CSA)
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If you thought the worst problem with ignoring your teeth might be a cavity down the road, you should think again. As we get older, poor dental health can lead to a host of serious problems.teeth

Researchers have found that issues with the teeth, gums and tongue can lead to many diseases in the rest of the body, including heart or liver disease, eating disorders, diet deficiencies, anemia, diabetes, arthritis, HIV, osteoporosis and even some autoimmune diseases.

For example, recent studies show a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. One study suggests that people with severe periodontal (gum) disease face double the risk of fatal heart disease, and other studies have found a link with higher rates of stroke. In certain circumstances, a tooth infection has the potential to cause bacterial endocarditis—an infection of the heart’s inner lining or the heart valves. Bacteria in the bloodstream can stick to the heart’s valves or damaged tissue and damage or even destroy the heart valves (“Senior Dental Problems and Taking Care of Elderly,” April 4, 2013, A Place for Mom).

Dental ResourcesDental schools: These can be a good source of quality, reduced-cost dental treatment. For a complete list of schools, visit the American Dental Association. To locate dental hygiene schools, go to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association website.Health centers: The Bureau of Primary Health Care, a service of the Health Resources and Services Administration, supports federally funded community health centers across the country that provide free or reduced-cost health services, including dental care. To obtain a list of centers in your area, call toll-free at 1-888-Ask-HRSA (1-888-275-4772) or visithttp://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.Medicaid: Most states provide limited emergency dental services for adults, while some offer comprehensive services. Visit the website or call 1-877-267-2323.Local resources: Programs in your area may offer free or reduced-cost dental care. Call your local or state health department to learn more about their financial assistance programs. In many states, you can also call 211 to find services in your area.United Way: The nonprofit may be able to direct you to free or reduced-cost dental services in your community.Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

 

“General health can affect oral health and oral health can affect general health,” says William Bailey, U.S. Public Health Service chief dental officer and acting director at Division of Oral Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“Older Adults and Oral Health: Inspiring Community-Based Partnerships for Healthy Mouths,” Cross-Federal Initiative: Expanding Access for Older Adults, May 15, 2013 webinar, Administration on Aging).

For example, “People who have significant tooth loss may either limit their intake of food or choose other types of food, so tooth loss has been associated with both weight loss and obesity,” he says. ”We also know that extensive and complete tooth loss may restrict social contact, inhibit intimacy and that tooth loss can affect speech which in turn limits social interaction and detracts from physical appearance and lowers self-esteem.”

Dental Changes to Expect from Aging

Several factors associated with aging can increase the risk for tooth decay. For example, medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, beta blockers and antihistamines increase the likelihood of dry mouth, which reduces saliva. Without saliva, mouth and gums aren’t lubricated, which promotes bacterial growth and prevents minerals such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride from remineralizing the surface of the tooth when decay begins.

As we age, our mouth’s soft tissues (gums and cheeks) lose their ability to stretch, and muscles become soft and weak. Further, with less saliva, chewing becomes more difficult, and your mouth becomes more easily irritated and heals more slowly than when you were younger.

Other changes are associated with aging (from “Basic Dental Health for Older Adults,” University of Missouri Extension):

Tooth decay: The rate of decay can increase as you age, especially if the amount of saliva is reduced. In older adults, tooth decay appears most frequently at the gum level. When exposed, the root portion of a tooth is especially subject to decay. Gumline or root decay is difficult to restore with fillings, because decay often recurs around this type of filling soon after it is placed.

Periodontal disease: Generally found in varying degrees in older adults, this disease becomes more destructive if not treated. In the elderly, periodontal disease is a primary cause of tooth loss. Watch for red or swollen gums that bleed with the slightest irritation. Pockets often develop between teeth and gums and can pack or trap food debris.

Brittleness: As we age, our bodies supply less blood and nerve tissue to teeth, causing tooth pulp to gradually shrink and teeth to become more brittle and susceptible to chips or breaks.

Teeth wear: Because of the grinding action of chewing, tooth enamel becomes thinner. In severe cases, the hard enamel covering completely wears away, exposing a softer part of the tooth (dentin), which acidic oral fluids can dissolve. Teeth with only a fragile enamel shell are easily chipped or broken.

Drug therapy: Medications used for diseases that can affect older adults, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and Parkinson’s disease, often have side effects that decrease the amount of saliva.

What You Can Do

The best way to prevent tooth problems is to do what our dentists (and parents) always told us: brush your teeth and floss regularly. Getting rid of food debris, plaque (a white residue adhering to the teeth) or calculus (solidified plaque) decreases the rate of tooth decay and gum disease.

The University of Missouri Extension recommends a medium soft brush and dental paste. For those incapable of gripping the handle, a rubber strap can be fastened to fit snugly around the hand. Brush teeth, gums and tongue at least once a day. Other steps to take include:

Rinsing: Decreased saliva means food particles adhere more easily to the teeth and gums. To resolve, you can rinse with warm water to dislodge any particles. If you use mouthwash, be aware that it can irritate dry tissue because of its high alcohol content. If used, dilute it with water.

Wiping with gauze: If you’re unable to brush or rinse because of physical issues, you can wipe your teeth and gums with a wet piece of gauze to remove debris.

Dental aids: For seniors with limited movement, the larger handles of electrical tooth brushes can be held more easily than non-electrical, and the mechanical movement of the brush aids movement. Also, water irrigators can be useful in removing particles from between teeth. Interdental cleaners, handles with small changeable brushes, can clean between teeth, which is especially helpful when the gums have receded, creating large spaces between the teeth.

Oral lubricants. Glycerin, flavored with a few drops of lemon, can provide a lubricating effect to help treat problems created by dry mouth. Several prescription medications can stimulate saliva production or act as a saliva substitute.

Good News about Dentures

In the future, fewer seniors are going to need dentures because today’s older adults are keeping their natural teeth longer. According to a recent survey by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the rate of toothlessness in individuals aged 55 to 64 has dropped 60 percent since 1960. This is due to scientific developments as well as better oral hygiene practices (“Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Dental Care,” WebMD).

If you do need dentures, an alternative is dental implants, which replace tooth roots and provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that match your natural teeth.

Paying for Dental Care

The bad news for seniors is that Medicare doesn’t pay for routine dental care, so many older adults don’t get check-ups that help identify problems before they become serious.

“We know that older adults have more difficulty in assessing effective interventions to prevent and control diseases than younger adults, and one of those barriers is lack of insurance,” says Bailey of the U.S. Public Health Service. “For persons aged 75 and older, only about 14 percent of costs are covered by private insurance and . . . we know that it’s harder and harder for some older adults to come up with the resources they need. So some choose to forego treatment or choose lower-cost treatment options such as tooth extraction rather than a root canal and a crown.”

If you are a senior on a limited or fixed income and can’t afford regular dental care, many dentists offer their services at reduced fees through dental society-sponsored assistance programs. Other resources are available (see sidebar).

Seniors Face Challenges in Finding Work

Blog post by Mike Brunt
I am a member of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors and receive a monthly newsletter that always has articles I think you’ll find interesting. This one is for Seniors who are looking for jobs. The article offers some really good tips and resources for even more information. If you’re interested in being a CAREGiver or know somebody who is, Home Instead Senior Care is always looking for people. Visit our website at www.makeadifferenceforseniors.com for more information.
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Not only has the 2008 recession put a dent in a lot of retirement accounts but people are living longer, so it makes financial sense to keep working as long as you can, either full-time or part-time.Working

In fact, AARP estimates that more than 3 million workers age 50-plus are looking for full-time employment. Unfortunately, there’s also a rise in reports of discrimination against older adults in the workplace.

After the website Ask.com requested comments about seniors’ job search experience, it was flooded with stories about repeated rejections. One senior wrote:

I had never experienced “age discrimination” until I had to go job hunting a year ago. I heard comments from “young interviewers,” such as “we are not looking for a mother figure in the office”; “well, you must have seen just about everything!”; “this position requires someone that can keep up in a very fast paced environment.” I was 58 at the time, have worked for over 20 years. I don’t have gray hair and have been told I look very young for my age!

But don’t give up. You might need to learn some new social media tricks, but you can also rely on some traditional methods of persuasion, such as your maturity (see sidebar).

Why Employers Should Hire SeniorsWhile older adults might not have all the technical skills that younger workers do, they have attributes that will always be in demand. Here’s a few:Track record: Older adults have decades of work experience, so employers know what they’re getting, compared to a younger person whose experience is unknown.Flexibility: Without young families to take care of, seniors can schedule their work more easily.Maturity: Most seniors aren’t trying to “get ahead” by playing games or attempting to impress their friends; they just want a good livelihood. They’re more willing to help others because they don’t have to prove their egos, and they have the confidence to share ideas.Hard workers: Most older adults are from a generation that grew up learning the value of money and work.

Conscientious: Seniors were taught at home and school to be punctual and honest.

Focused: Older adults grew up before the era of texting and other instant forms of gratification, so they are more patient and able to take time to solve problems.

Communication: Because seniors weren’t raised on Facebook and texting, many are more skilled at face-to-face communication.

Cost less: Many seniors may be on Medicare or on spouses’ health insurance plans, so they cost an employer less. According to AARP, by retaining older workers, some employers save more than half of an employee’s annual salary in retraining costs.

Less absenteeism: Experienced workers have been found to have fewer absences from work than their younger counterparts.

Commitment: According to an AARP study, health care workers over the age of 55 had the highest level of employee engagement, which greatly correlates with employer loyalty, performing well with little supervision and motivation to do their very best.

 

How to Prepare for the Search

When looking for work, experts recommend de-emphasizing your age. For example, don’t stress early work experiences, either on your resume or to the job interviewer. Include jobs on your resume that go back only 15 years for a managerial job, 10 years for a technical job and five years for a high-tech job. If you want to list positions older than that, don’t include dates. Also, on your resume, leave off high school and college graduation dates. In your cover letter, avoid using “experienced” or “seasoned.” Instead, emphasize your skills and flexibility.

Target your cover letter and resume to specifically highlight the relevant experience for the job you are applying for. You may want to use a “functional resume,” which cites your accomplishments first, rather than a chronological resume, which outlines your experience in date order.

Emphasize that you’re up-to-date with current technology by listing the latest programs you’ve worked with. To show prospective employers you’re current with social networking, include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume.

If the job posting requests your salary requirements, let your prospective employer know that you’re flexible. Avoid the appearance of being overqualified and/or overpriced.

Job Help for Seniors

Several sources offer assistance for older adults looking for work.

One is the AARP Foundation WorkSearch tool found at http://www.foundation.aarp.org/senior-employment.php. WorkSearch Information Network is an online employment guide that covers the job search process from start to finish. It helps you set goals and organize your job search activities, find out which job is best for you, learn how the job search process can maximize chances for finding employment, determine what employers are looking for and tap into social media and connect with other job seekers.

In a new program, AARP Foundation is partnering with local workforce service providers in Denver and Phoenix initially. Back to Work 50+, connects employers and training providers with unemployed or underemployed workers age 50 and over to create a pool of trained, prescreened, qualified workers available for employment. The program focuses on a specific set of difficult-to-fill and in-demand jobs, initially within the health care sector, using input from local employers about workforce needs to provide information and coaching to older workers seeking jobs. A secondary motive is to reduce employment barriers and provide job seekers access to skill-building opportunities.

For low-income job seekers age 55 or over, the U.S. Department of Labor offers classes through itsSenior Community Service Employment Program . Participants in the part-time employment program work at community and government agencies and are paid the federal or state minimum wage rate, whichever is higher. They may also receive training and use their participation as a bridge to other employment positions not supported with federal funds.

One website, RetirementJobs.com, offers an “Age Friendly Employer Certification” program, where the companies listed have met “best practice” standards such as management style, flexible scheduling and health care benefits that tend to be senior-friendly. Companies that qualify include Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, as well as retailers like Starbucks and Target. Job websites specifically targeted toward post-retirement job seekers are www.retireeworkforce.comwww.SeniorJobBank.org, andwww.workforce50.com.

Some of the fastest-growing business sectors and positions are nursing, retail sales, home health aides, office clerks, food service, customer service and truck driving, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While you may have to take classes to become certified, it may be worth it to more easily find work.

Networking Your Way to a Job

Reportedly, at least 60 percent of jobs are found by networking, either through friends, former colleagues or social media. Your career network should include anyone who can assist you with a job search or career move. It can contain past and present co-workers, bosses, friends with similar interests, colleagues from business associations, alumni from your university or acquaintances you have met via online networking services.

You can develop contacts through local business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce or associations in your field, which often list their meetings or events online. If you are a college graduate, the career services office at your alma mater, as well as its career advisor network of alumni contacts, can be invaluable.

Employers are increasingly using social networking sites to attract and recruit candidates and to accept applications for employment. LinkedIn, Facebook and other online networking websites can connect you with other networkers at specific companies, with college affiliations or with opportunities in a certain geographic area. In fact, surveys report that almost 90 percent of companies are currently recruiting through social media.

If you don’t have an online presence, you will be at a disadvantage in this competitive job market. Strong social media participation can boost your candidacy and help ensure that recruiters and hiring managers will find you. An article in the June 2013 AARP Bulletin says many employers expect prospective employees to have a Facebook profile, website or blog (or both) and be Tweeting. “If you have no digital footprint, you’re likely to get a pass,” says Jane Bryant Quinn (“Looking for a Job? Go Social”).

The most widely used social media networking platform for professionals is LinkedIn. Individuals and companies use LinkedIn for networking, job searching, hiring, company research and connecting with affiliates, including alumni, industry and various other business-related groups.

One of the most important LinkedIn components is your profile, which is how people locate you. The more complete your LinkedIn description, the better your chances of being found and contacted. Use your LinkedIn profile like a resume, and check out LinkedIn company profiles to find more information about a company you’re interested in. You’ll be able to see connections at the company, new hires, promotions, posted jobs, and related organizations.

Sources

“How to Get Started With Social Networking,” about.com
“How to Use LinkedIn,” about.com
“Job Search and Career Networking Tips,” about.com
“Successful Job Search Networking,” about.com
“How to Find Job Search Help,” about.com
“The Grey Ceiling: How Old is Too Old?” about.com
“Resume Tips for Older Job Seekers,” about.com

Making the Difficult Conversation Easier

Blog post by Mike Brunt

It’s time for “the conversation”, something we all dread. This article provides some good information on how best to approach that difficult conversation. Our Home Instead website also has some very good articles, videos and other resources to help you.caregivercouple

Martin’s driving was getting more erratic and dangerous. His wife, Gwen, 81, was in the car when Martin, 83, failed to see pedestrians crossing the street until she yelled at the last minute. It was clearly time to take his car keys away, but Gwen wasn’t sure how to do that without causing Martin distress.

Whether baby boomers need to talk to their parents about assisted living, parents need to talk to their children about end-of-life issues or a wife needs to talk to her husband about not driving anymore, these conversations can be difficult. Most people avoid them as long as they can, at which point it’s sometimes too late to handle the issue easily.

Those in the caring field who have been through this offer ways to best approach these delicate but serious discussions.

 

Techniques to Smooth the DiscussionPlan ahead: Schedule a time and place that works for all to be focused and not distracted.Validate others’ feelings: When feelings are acknowledged, the person starts to calm down, because they feel they’re being understood.“Normalizing”: Letting the other person know they’re not the only one going through these emotions or this experience make people feel safe and takes the focus off an individual.Be open: Explain your concerns specifically and clearly. Share your own feelings.Think before responding: Don’t speak when you’re angry or upset. Silence can often be effective.Ask for advice: Asking questions rather than telling people what to do is always a better way to start conversations.

Use “I” statements: Explain how you feel rather than what you see as wrong with the situation.

Working with Denial

In confronting difficult situations, most people first encounter denial: From children it might be that their parents are never going to become incapable of taking care of themselves; from aging adults it might be, “my driving is not that bad; I know what I’m doing” or from the husband it might be that his wife can stay at home rather than go into assisted living.

Loved ones don’t want to see that the situation or person has changed, and a lot of emotions are attached to the way things were. “Everyone wants to go back to the way it was,” says Viki Kind, a clinical bioethicist, medical educator and hospice volunteer (“Facilitating Difficult Conversations: Getting Through the Barriers”).

While denial might work in the short term, in the long term, it can cause problems. It could mean that adult children won’t know how to handle their parents’ finances when they’re unable to or that a bad driver could cause an accident or worse. Providing adult children with end-of-life wishes can make the inevitable process easier, not more difficult, in the long term. Denial can also occur when someone has the wrong or not enough information. Therefore, it’s important to make sure both parties have all the facts.

When confronting someone about big changes, it’s important to let them emotionally process the new information. It might take time and patience. Kind suggests not rushing the other person to make a decision. Seniors, especially, might want to sit and ponder the question, and see how the issue affects their life and future. You can also ask if there is a better time to talk about the topic.

The Real Issue

We need to truly listen, Kind says, to hear what someone is really saying and what the real issue is behind the fears and resistance. The key is to be present and feel the other person’s suffering. “Compassion is the ability to feel your pain in my heart.”

For instance, someone might not want a caregiver because they don’t want to lose their privacy, they think they can’t afford it or they worry their house is a mess. In another example, perhaps the real reason an older adult is resisting using a walker is because it makes them feel old and awkward. “Once you explore the real issue, the better chance of solving it,” Kind says.

Younger adults might not realize that their parents (or loved ones) want to have control over their lives, Kind says. Trying to take away that control—by taking away their car keys or moving them from their homes—will likely only bring resistance. It’s best to give that person some authority.

Dealing With Control

David Solie, a geriatric psychologist, CEO and medical director of a life insurance brokerage corporation, wanted to move his mother to assisted living, because he felt she would be safer there, but she resisted. At some point, he started seeing the situation through her eyes:

“In 20 years of working with seniors, I’ve come to know how deep the need for control is in that age group, how little they ultimately wind up with and how closely control is tied to dignity and hope, not hope that you’re going to be young again, but hope that you’re going to get some good days. . . .

“That’s what I found out when I sat down in my mother’s old, worn-out La-Z-Boy with the tuner with the larger buttons and the Collier’s magazine from 1946. I realized that in a world of great instability—her friends had passed, my dad was gone, her neighbors were gone—this house was her anchor. Looking at that, I felt it was profound hubris on my part to be all-knowing and righteous about where she should live” (“Talking With David Solie: Caregiving Mistakes and Lessons Learned,” caring.com).

In the end, Solie, author of How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap With Our Elders, honored his mother’s request until she had a massive stroke and had to go into skilled nursing for the last ten months of her life.

Failure to Communicate

“Parents and kids don’t talk the way they need to talk,” says Donna Quinn Robbins, author of Moving Mom and Dad! Why, Where, How, and When to Help Your Parents Relocate. “The kids don’t really understand how their parents are feeling, what they’re going through or what they want because they’re afraid to ask—or if they ask, they don’t get an answer. The parents don’t want to be a burden, they don’t want to tell their kids what’s really going on and they don’t want to let them know they’re sliding, because then they’re afraid the kids are going to want to do something about it” (“Talking With Donna Quinn Robbins: How to Discuss Moving With Your Parents,” caring.com ).

Robbins, who has worked with seniors for 20 years as the owner of Ultimate Moves, a relocation and transition service, has seen what happens when different generations don’t communicate. One adult son, a doctor, told his parents if they didn’t move closer to him, he wouldn’t be able to take care of them. When the parents reluctantly left their retirement home in Florida, leaving most of their possessions behind, they found that their son had only once a month to see them. Within a year, both parents died.

“When people bring their parents from a distant place to where they live, I see catastrophes all the time because they haven’t talked about the expectations they have—the children’s or the parents’. . . . The expectations have to be discussed up front because, otherwise, the parents have moved from their home, their friends, their whole lifestyle, to a place where they don’t know anybody.”

Confirming that view is Bruce Nemovitz, senior real estate specialist and Certified Senior Advisor. His advice to adult children: “Learn what are their [seniors’] greatest fears and talk about them. Understand the power of memories and their feelings of deep loss and sadness as they think of giving up their home. For each senior, moving elicits a different set of issues both mentally and physically.” His advice to seniors: “You cannot expect [your children] to truly understand what you are experiencing as it is new to you and to them also. They cannot feel the pain of a loss of spouse or the fears of moving to a completely new environment after so many years in their familiar surroundings. Your kids will someday have to face the same issues, so know that they hold their own set of emotions, fears and concerns” (“Having Difficult Conversations,” June 04, 2013, Laureate Group).

Beyond the bigger issues of denial and control, experts offer tips for making the difficult conversation a lot easier (see sidebar).

Don’t forget to visit the Home Instead website for more information, videos and resources regarding Family Communication Issues.

Caregiver Depression: Unspoken but Traumatic

Blog post by Liz Fischer

I recently discovered a weekly newsletter from PBS called Next Avenue, Where Grown Ups Keep Growing. I have found their articles interesting and informative. This article stood out to me. 1 in 5 family caregivers suffer from depression! The article lists symptoms, if experienced for more than two consecutive weeks, may indicate depression and some recommendations from the National Institute of Mental Health
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One of today’s all-too silent health crises is caregiver depression. A conservative estimate reports that 20 percent of family caregivers suffer from depression, twice the rate of the general population. And former caregivers may not escape the tentacles of this condition after caregiving ends.caregiver_stress1

A recent study found that 41 percent of former caregivers of a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia experienced mild to severe depression up to three years after their spouse had died. In general, women caregivers experience depression at a higher rate than men.

Caregiving does not cause depression, nor will everyone who provides care experience the negative feelings that go with depression. But in an effort to provide the best possible care for a family member or friend, caregivers often sacrifice their own physical and emotional needs and the emotional and physical experiences involved with providing care can strain even the most capable person. The resulting feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, isolation, exhaustion — and then guilt for having these feelings — can exact a heavy toll.

Visit the PBS Next Avenue website to read entire article, see the symptoms and recommendations.

Library Mail Program for Washington County Residents

Blog post by Cynthia Peterson, Librarian for Homebound Services
Washington County Cooperative Library Services

For homebound, elderly and disabled people, library materials can provide both entertainment and exercise. Washingtonreading County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) provides US Postal Service delivery of library books, large print books, movies and information free-of-charge to Washington County residents who are physically unable to visit their public library. To qualify, the person must be homebound, the caregiver of a homebound person, or living in a residential care facility in Washington County. Mailing bags are easy to use and postage is pre-paid by WCCLS. To register yourself or a loved one, please visit their webpage www.wccls.org/homebound and call 503-648-9785.

WCCLS also has numerous items to help caregivers find activities to stimulate the body and brain “muscle” in clients. Sunshine & Joy’s Big Book of Alzheimer’s Activities four volume set, a Caregiver Help KitExercise to Heal DVDs with Karen Holden, and Whoga three volume DVD set to name a few for check out. To place a hold on a library item, have your library card ready, and visit their webpage www.wccls.org or phone your local WCCLS Library.

Senior Care Resources to Help Real Estate Agents

Presentation by Home Instead Owner, Mike Brunt, to Premiere Property Group in Lake Oswego, OR

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ELDER CARE TIPS FOR THE FAMILIES YOU ARE HELPING WITH REAL ESTATE

As a real estate agent, you work closely with families on some of the most important financial transactions of their lives. Through weeks and months of working with individual families, you get to know your clients – the joys and successes as well as the challenges and stresses.

Statistic: Each day in America, for the next 18 years, 10,000 people turn 65.

  • As real estate agents, you often work with these baby boomers. A big part of boomer’s lives is helping their parents who are in their 80s or 90s. Knowing more about senior care services helps you help your clients.

 

Many of the families you work with will be busy providing some sort of help for an aging loved one. With Home Instead Senior Care in mind as a reference, you will be able to add value for your families in many different situations including the ones listed below:

 

Situation One:
Your client is purchasing a home that will have a living area for the parents who are in failing health. They work during the day and are afraid to leave them that long unattended. They will also need someone to fix meals for mom and dad and take them to their doctors’ appointments. What can you recommend?

 

Situation Two:
You are getting ready to list a home but your elderly client should not or cannot drive and has a hard time getting around, so wants to remain home during the showings. We know that buyers are uncomfortable looking when the owner is there. What is the solution?

 

Situation 3:
You are trying to help a middle aged couple with some investment properties, but they have a hard time keeping appointments with you because an elderly parent with memory issues needs constant supervision.

 

Great Reads for Family Caregivers

 

Know Someone Who Would Make a Great Home Instead CAREGiver?

  • Please refer them to www.makeadifferenceforseniors.com
    • Work for a company that shares your values
    • Be treated as a gifted professional
    • No certifications required – Training is provided
    • Part-time hours that fit your schedule
    • Consistent, predictable wages and increases

 

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Seniors behind the wheel: Few kids have the talk

Blog post by Mike Brunt
Article written by Larry Copeland, USA TODAY 6:04 a.m. EDT September 29, 2013

I’ve seen a lot of articles recently highlighting issues facing senior citizens. It’s nice to see attention by the national media regarding seniors. This article is about having the tough discussion with elderly parents regarding driving. In addition to the suggestions in this article,  The Home Instead website has a section on the “40-70 Rule®” which are programs and emotional support services offered to develop open discussions between families relating to providing care to parents and other various senior topics. This website provides tips to help bridge the communication gap between adult children and their senior loved ones.
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It can be one of the most difficult conversations an adult child ever has with an aging parent: The discussion about Mom or Dad giving up the car keys because of declining health.driving

The dilemma is one that many adult children will face in the coming years: The number of people 65 and older in the U.S. will increase from 47.6 million in 2015 to 72.7 million in 2030, according to the Census Bureau.

In 2011, 17% of all traffic deaths in the U.S. involved people 65 and older, a group that made up 13% of the overall population, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But apparently, many simply aren’t having that conversation.

More than half of adult children of senior drivers – 55% — say they are concerned about their parents’ driving habits. But only 23% have had a discussion with their parents about driving abilities as they age. In fact, adults ages 40-65 are more concerned about aging parents’ driving than they are about family members driving while intoxicated.

That’s according to a new nationwide telephone survey of 1,007 adults ages 40-65with at least one parent who drives. The survey was conducted May 14-20 for insurer Liberty Mutual and has a margin of error of 3.01%.

“They really are avoiding the conversation,” says David Melton, Liberty Mutual’s managing director of global safety. “We feel very strongly that families know best, and it’s really critical that boomer children not wait until they see a possibly dangerous decline in their parents’ driving. These are conversations that need to be had early and often.”

In the survey, just 38% of adult children of senior drivers thought their parents would understand and be open to a discussion about giving up driving. Among the negative outcomes they feared: 46% thought their parents would be angry or hurt; 31% thought parents would say it’s too hard to find alternative transportation, and 22% thought their parents would be more determined to keep driving.

Families with older drivers should keep an eye out for signs that could indicate it’s time to talk, experts say.

These include: Noticing scrapes on a parent’s car or bumper, or on a garage door or mailbox. “Also, we suggest the person who is concerned actually ride with the person to get that bird’s-eye view,” says Julie Lee, vice president and national director for driver safety at AARP, a membership organization representing people 50 and older.

“If you notice other drivers are honking their horns more than they should be, or if they run a stop sign, those might be signs.”

When it is time for the conversation, the child has to choose the right time (not, for instance, during Thanksgiving dinner) and choose the right person to initiate it – it might be a family friend or someone outside the family, such as a doctor. “Driving is such an important part of people’s lives,” Lee says. “So you need to go into it with respect and dignity. You can’t just say, ‘Dad, I’m your daughter. You’re a danger to everybody. We’re taking your keys away.’”

If driving privileges do have to be taken away, it’s important to arrange transportation alternatives before the discussion so the senior doesn’t lose their independence, Melton says.

Among online resources to help plan and initiate this important conversation: AARP’s free, 90-minute seminar at www.aarp.org/weneedtotalk, and Liberty Mutual’s tips and information at LibertyMutual.com/seniordriving.

Melton, who is 67 and has been driving more than 50 years, says he’s been discussing his driving with his wife and son for the past few years. “They know I love to drive, and ultimately, it’s going to be my responsibility and their responsibility to bring up this issue,” he says.

Lisa Callahan, 58, of Fairfield, Conn., began talking with her mother, Jean Winton, now 93, every six months or so about her driving. After Winton inadvertently stepped on the gas pedal while stopped at a mailbox, she decided it was time to stop driving. “She was very gracious,” Callahan says. “She said, ‘I’ve been looking for a sign, and that was it.’

“It’s a hard conversation,” Callahan says. “It’s like telling your kid the facts of life. It’s something you’ve got to do, but nobody looks forward to that conversation.”

Don’t forget to check out the Home Instead Senior Care website to find tips to help bridge the communication gap between adult children and their senior loved ones.

 

Banks recruited to stop scams on seniors

Blog post by Liz Fischer
Article from USA Today written by Susan Tompor,  September 27, 2013

I recently talked to the manager of a local bank who told me a story about one of their clients who was taking money out of her account frequently. She and her tellers were very concerned about their client and the possibly of fraudulent activities causing these withdrawals. I was very happy to read this article in USA Today as banks recognize unusual activities and can help prevent fraud before accounts are emptied.
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Just one year ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that it could not find any federal requirements for banks to train tellers and others to spot or report elder financial exploitation.ChristopherRobbins

To be sure, many banks and credit unions try to prevent such fraud through various efforts. But increasingly, banks are being told that their employees are part of the solution on the front lines to stopping financial abuse.

Federal regulators joined forces Tuesday to issue guidance to clarify that privacy rules don’t trump common sense for reporting suspected elder abuse to law enforcement officials or state adult protective services agencies.

“Older Americans are all too often victims of financial exploitation,” said Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “They make attractive targets because they often have higher household wealth — whether it is in retirement savings or home equity.”

Families caring for older relatives know too well about the constant fear that some outsider, or maybe even a relative up to no good, might find a way to get a senior’s ATM card and PIN.

Or maybe a friendly-sounding con artist can convince an older adult to wire $4,000 to cover taxes for his or her so-called winnings on a big sweepstakes. And maybe those calls about a big sweepstakes win just keep coming and coming — and the senior keeps on sending money.

Ann Langford, program manager for the Area Agency on Aging 1-B, a non-profit that supports services for older and disabled adults in metro Detroit, said in the tough economic times some family members have sought to fix their own finances by coercing an older relative to hand over cash.

“They may have a loved one who has money,” Langford said.

She noted that banks often want to protect their customers, but she said it may help to have the privacy regulations clarified so some tellers know what’s allowed.

A “No Excuse for Elder Abuse” campaign was launched last March in the metro Detroit area and included a tip that involved asking a bank manager to train tellers on how to detect elder financial abuse.

“It’s a stealth crime that just needs to have a spotlight on it,” Langford said.

SIGNS TO WATCH FOR

What are some signs that might trigger a suspicious-activity report at a financial institution? Regulators said it could be lots of stops at the ATM for withdrawals that hit the daily maximum allowed on that account. Or a sudden onslaught of bounced checks, which might indicate an unexpected loss of money.

Are there debit transactions that don’t seem to make sense for an older adult? Is the older adult wiring large sums of money out of the blue? Did the elderly customer show up at the bank window and close a certificate of deposit, even though a large penalty would be paid for early withdrawal before that CD matured?

Why the guidance now? Cordray and other regulators said financial institutions had expressed concern that they couldn’t take action without violating the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which establishes how and when a financial institution can disclose non-public personal information to third parties not affiliated with the institution.

Richard Riese, senior vice president of the American Bankers Association’s Center for Regulatory Compliance, said the guidance helps confirm privacy rule interpretations that banks have been relying on to report elder financial abuse.

Some other possible signs of abuse include when the bank is unable to speak directly with the older adult, despite repeated attempts to contact him or her. Maybe a new friend suddenly begins handling the money for a senior without proper documentation.

Financial exploitation is defined as illegally or improperly using an older adult’s money, property or other assets. Older adults can lose money through exploitation by relatives, caregivers, scam artists, financial advisers, home-repair contractors, guardians and others.

SUCCESS STORIES

But sometimes, there’s a little hope that not every scam out there will successfully tarnish a senior’s golden years. Debbie Matz, board chair of the National Credit Union Administration, said some credit unions have had success at being watchdogs for their customers’ money and prevented elder financial fraud.

One credit union in Colorado, for example, stopped an 85-year-old from losing $50,000 to one financial exploitation trap.

Stopping the money from ever being handed over to an abusive relative or a con artist is essential. Some seniors are too upset or frail or just too embarrassed to take legal action. And the scammers — whether they’re down-on-their-luck relatives or con artists overseas — know that one too well.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING SCAMS AND WHERE TO FIND HELP

• The National Center on Elder Abuse lists government agencies in individual statesthat can help.

• Some seniors have lost money to the “Grandparents Scam” where someone phones or e-mails and pretends to be a grandchild in trouble in Canada or overseas. The elderly person might be convinced and may wire money or send a prepaid debit card to help.

• Seniors need to beware of “freebies.” The Better Business Bureau serving eastern Michigan reports that scammers now are offering seniors $3,000 in “free groceries savings certificates” along with a free medical alert bracelet. The scam may lure people to give away bank account information.

• Con artists also may attend the funeral service of a stranger claiming that the deceased had an outstanding debt with them, according to Better Business Bureau reports.

• Seniors may be targets of reverse mortgage scams. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website noted that victims are offered free homes, investment opportunities and foreclosure or refinance assistance. They are also used as straw buyers in property-flipping scams. Seniors are frequently targeted through local churches and investment seminars, as well as television, radio, billboard and mailer advertisements.

Source: Detroit Free Press research

Tuality Health “Living Well with Chronic Conditions”

On behalf of our community partner Tuality Healthcare, the following is information for a free workshop series (once a week for six weeks) for people with chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, arthritis).  One series takes place in the evening, and one takes place in the late morning.  This is a statewide program using evidence-based research from Stanford University and is a wonderful opportunity to help people improve their quality of life.  If you know somebody living with chronic conditions please share with them information on this class.
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These six free workshops are offered either September 26 through October 31, Thursdays, from 6:00 pm-8:30 pm OR November 7 through December 12, Thursdays, from 10:00 am-12:30 pm. All workshops are held at the Tuality Health Education Center located at 334 SE 8th Avenue in downtown Hillsboro.writing1

“Living Well with Chronic Conditions” is an evidence-based chronic disease self-management program developed by Stanford University. Each workshop series is six sessions (one evening or morning a week for six (6) weeks) with each session being 2 ½ hours. It is a powerful, engaging and interactive workshop that yields some terrific outcomes for those who participate. People who take the program feel better, are less limited by their illness, and may spend less time at the doctor or in the hospital.

“I realized I’d put my life on hold, expecting to ‘get better.’ When I accepted the fact that I have a chronic condition that I need to manage, I can’t begin to tell you how much freedom I felt. This workshop was a life-changing event.” — Program Participant

The free workshop series is excellent for people with arthritis, heart disease, chronic pain, cancer/cancer survivor, diabetes, high blood pressure, MS, stroke survivor, chronic fatigue, mild depression, and other conditions. Family caregivers are also welcome to attend.

There is no charge for participants thanks to the support of the Tuality Healthcare Foundation. Tuality employees as well as members of the general public are welcome to attend. However, space is limited and registration is required by calling Tuality Community Education at 503-681-1700.

World Alzheimer’s Month Living with Alzheimer’s: A Journey of Caring

Blog post by Mike Brunt

Alzheimer’s and Dementia are major areas of emphasis for Home Instead Senior Care. In this letter Paul Hogan, founder of Home Instead Senior Care talks about some of the things we’ve done to help family caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
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Greetings,

There is no cure, but there is care.” What a great message from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.Language-Impairment

September 2013 is World Alzheimer’s Month, and this year’s theme is  ”A Journey of Caring.” To help family caregivers, Alzheimer’s Disease International and Home Instead Senior Care are bringing together top dementia care experts to host roundtable discussions. The dialogues will examine the impact on family caregivers and their loved ones, as well as best practices for governments, healthcare providers, nonprofits and the private sector to support people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

We also launched a worldwide media and public education effort to coincide with World Alzheimer’s Month that includes the release of a new Home Instead book, Confidence to Care, and a mobile app to provide family caregivers with help at their fingertips.

To date, Home Instead Senior Care franchise offices have offered more than 600 sessions of our Alzheimer’s CARE training program free to family caregivers. The tremendous response from families affirms how desperately they need guidance on quality care.

Living with Alzheimer’s: A Journey of Caring – World Alzheimer’s Report 2013 Release & Roundtable Discussions, held in three international capitals beginning September 19, address the disease’s global implications. The host cities include:

  • Washington D.C., September 19,
  • London, September 20, and
  • Beijing, September 26.

Policymakers have a vital role in confronting this global health crisis through:

  • Learning about the challenges caregivers face.
  • Raising awareness of this issue that, too often, is overlooked.
  • Coming together to find new solutions.
  • Following and taking part in the World Alzheimer’s Report discussions on Facebook and Twitter using #Alztalk2013.

The World Alzheimer’s Report 2013 provides the most comprehensive, global view of the issues surrounding dementia, including examining the levels of mortality, disability, strain on caregivers and future outlook.

With approximately 7.7 million new cases of dementia worldwide each year, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia is a very personal crisis for family caregivers, who often put their own health in danger, due to the stress of providing care. Seventy percent of people with Alzheimer’s are cared for at home. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, the number of people living with dementia worldwide, estimated at 35.6 million in 2010, is set to nearly double every 20 years, reaching 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

Until there is a cure, we stand united with advocates including Alzheimer’s Disease International to find solutions and raise awareness of this critical issue.

Sincerely,
Paul Hogan

Paul Hogan is Chairman & Founder of Home Instead Senior Care and, with his wife Lori, co-author of Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions.

Daughters (Still) Are the Caregivers

Blog post by Mike Brunt
This study as reported in The New York Times didn’t surprise me, “Children who live near their mothers are six times more likely to wind up as caregivers than other adult children, and they are mostly women.”  Does it surprise you?
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When it comes to taking care of aging mothers, biology is destiny. Or, to be more precise, biology plus geography equals destiny.

Or, to quote The Shirelles circa 1961, if you’re the daughter who lives closest when your mother needs help: “Baby, it’s you.”answeringthecall

We’ve known for a long time that despite decades of social change, elder care remains largely a female task. Most studies find that women account for about two-thirds of caregivers. We know it can be a very tough job.

But there’s a lot about how certain women wind up becoming caregivers that we don’t know. “There’s all this research on the effects of caregiving on people and virtually nothing about who is the one who winds up doing it,” said Karl Pillemer, a gerontologist at Cornell University. “Why does Jane become the caregiver when Billy and Betty don’t?”

For almost 30 years, Dr. Pillemer and his collaborator, J. Jill Suitor, a Purdue University sociologist, have been wading into family dynamics in later life, trying to figure out who shoulders this task. Along the way, they’ve learned that despite the supposed cultural taboo against family favoritism, mothers are perfectly willing to name the child they prefer. Moreover, mothers often have clear expectations about which child they want and expect to care for them in later life — generally a daughter.

But what happens when the crunch really comes and decisions are made? The researchers’ latest study of older mothers in the Boston area, recently published online in The Gerontologist, shows that among siblings, “if you live closer, you’re vastly more likely to have caregiving thrust upon you,” Dr. Pillemer said. “And if you’re the nearest daughter, it’s really likely.”

The researchers were a little startled themselves by this scenario, which appears to ignore almost 50 years of upheavals in women’s lives and roles. “It’s almost like being back at the turn of the century,” Dr. Pillemer said.

Dr. Pillemer and Dr. Suitor first interviewed the mothers, nearly 600 of them, between 2001 and 2003. Seven years later, they returned for a second round of interviews with those who had needed assistance during the previous two years, either because they’d had a serious illness or were no longer able to manage without help. By then, the mothers (139 in this later sample) were in their 70s and 80s.

All sorts of personal history and relationship issues would factor into who wound up as caregivers, the researchers hypothesized. They figured it would be those children who were closest to their mothers emotionally, who had earlier received support from their mothers, and who had fewer competing demands on their time like work, spouses or children of their own.

Nope.

A feeling of shared values was of borderline significance, but otherwise none of those presumed factors played much of a part. The decision came down to gender: daughters were more than twice as likely to become caregivers as sons. And proximity: children within a two-hour drive were six times likelier to provide care than those farther away.

Most of the time, those were the very children their mothers had identified as their expected caregivers years before they needed help. “They were remarkably accurate,” Dr. Pillemer said.

Read the remainder of the article here

When Parents Need Nurturing

Blog post by Mike Brunt

Article from The New York Times, By JANE E. BRODY, September 16, 2013

Many people feel a moral obligation to assist aging parents, which can leave adult children feeling overburdened and neglectful of their own families, personal needs and goals. But an entirely different scenario can emerge if all parties involved respect the needs of others . This article offers a laundry list of emotions that adult children are likely to experience when parents age and their health declines.
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“Growing old is not for sissies.”

I hear this often and have said it myself. Among the many challenges of aging is knowing when to seek help and how to accept it graciouslytips_caringyourself_emotionalsigns

Most often, the source of help is an adult child (or children) who may not be in a position to satisfy all the physical and emotional needs of an aging parent (or parents). Advanced old age can create a role reversal: children who once required a nurturing parent must now nurture their parents.

Recognizing that the demands of modern life have eroded the time-honored commitments to care for aging parents, China recently put in effect a law called “Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People.” It requires children to meet the emotional and physical needs of their parents, and to visit them often or face fines or possible jail time.

In some former Soviet bloc countries, aging parents can sue children for failing to provide needed financial support. Interestingly, there are similar laws still on the books in many American states, mostly unenforced relics of a bygone era.

But with or without a law, moral obligations to assist one’s aging parents are commonly felt. They can leave adult children feeling overburdened and neglectful of their own families, personal needs and goals. Indeed, The New York Times for several years has devoted a blog entirely to this subject, The New Old Age.

Read entire article here

Beware of Telemarketing Scams

Blog post by Liz Fischer, Referral Relationship Managerlady on phone

It was near dinner time, the phone rang. Immediately I knew it was one of those annoying sales calls, either an overly eager sales person or a recording, neither of which I was interested in answering. I glanced at the caller ID and saw it was an Oregon area code. I took a chance and answered. A very friendly voice told me my Life Alert was ready to be sent, somebody had paid for the Life Alert and shipping. When I asked who paid the voice went on to say I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get this amazing device for free and all that was needed was to press #1 to provide some information. It was then I realized it was a scam. I had not ordered the Life alert and the friendly voice was a recording. I immediately hung up and worried that the same call was going out to others who may not realize it was not legitimate.

Shortly thereafter I saw an article in the Oregonian advising using the name of trusted companies is a new way to try to obtain personal information from unsuspecting people, especially senior citizens. The article confirmed legitimate companies do not make telemarketing calls.

To avoid these calls the Oregonian suggested to add your number to the do-not-call list (888-382-1222). That won’t stop all unwanted calls but it’s a start. They also suggested buying a caller ID box and checking each call before answering the phone. Don’t answer unknown numbers. “The more often fraudulent telemarketers get a human voice the more often they’ll call.” Even though it may be hard, let the unrecognized calls go to voice mail. If it’s a legitimate company they’ll leave a message.

Protect yourself by not responding to offers that seem too good to be true and especially from unknown callers. If you do provide information in response to a marketing call immediately call the police, they will help you.
Read a related article on The Oregonian