Category Archives: Aging in place

WebMD / JAHF Survey Finds Older Adults and Their Caregivers are Misinformed

Care of older adults is mired in misinformation, with most older patients and caregivers mistakenly believing that sharp declines in quality of life are inevitable, according to a new survey from The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) and WebMD. Driving Towards Age-Friendly Care for the Future, a survey of more than 2,700 older patients and caregivers, found:

  • More than 40% of respondents believe depression is an inevitable part of aging;
  • Three in four older adults are not aware that they have the right to ask for, and receive, health care that is tailored to what matters to them;
  • Nearly 40% of respondents did not know that some prescription medications can impact cognition.

age friendly

The survey underscores the importance of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, a national movement led by JAHF and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the US, which is helping hospitals and health systems provide age-friendly care that focuses on the 4Ms.”

  • Read more about the survey findings;
  • Learn more about the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative.

“‘We Need Each Other’: Seniors Are Drawn to New Housing | Arrangements Older Americans are exploring housing alternatives, including villages and home-sharing.” – The New York Times

Finding a place to live for too many people is a serious challenge; co-housing or home sharing provides a viable option. This article, Here’s an idea worth “sharing.”, is about a test program that’s being used in northeast Pennsylvania. This article, too, takes a closer look at the concept of shared housing.

we need each otherCredit: Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

by 

“After her husband died, Freda Schaeffer was left on her own in a three-bedroom house in Brooklyn. ‘I was lonely,’ she confessed. And she worried about finances, because ‘there’s a lot of expenses in a house.’

“Tom Logan, who had moved east from California, found that his disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs didn’t stretch very far in New York City. ‘I needed a place to stay, or I could be homeless,’ he said.

“Enter the matchmaker, a home-sharing program operated by the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens. It pairs people who have extra living space — but want company, help with chores, extra income or all three — with those desperate for affordable housing.”

Read this article at The New York Times in its entirey, click here.

“The financial toll of caring for aging parents as an only child” – Marketplace

taking care of parentBeth Beth Salamon is an only child taking care of her mother, who has dementia. Above, they are pictured in 2009. (Courtesy of Beth Salamon)

by Rose Conlon

“When Holly Hill’s grandfather entered hospice in June, she watched his four children — including her mother — come together as a team to care for him and support each other. But Hill, who’s an only child, couldn’t help but wonder what things might look like when it was her own mother who needed care.

“‘My mom even said to me at one point, “You can’t do it all on your own. You have to take breaks,” remembered Hill. ‘And I thought to myself, “Who’s going to give me a break?”

“Hill, 39, a first grade teacher and a mother herself, lives two hours away from her parents. She hopes they’ll move closer to her before they start needing more care, but it’s a hard sell. They’ve lived in the same house for 40 years — the one her dad built.”

Click here to continue reading this Marketplace article.

 

“Updated Long-Term Services and Supports Fact Sheet Published”

ltss article

The AARP Public Policy Institute has released a new fact sheet about long-term services and supports. The sheet provides updated information from a similar LTSS publication in 2017. The 2019 edition examines LTSS and covers topics including:

  • What LTSS encompass;
  • Who needs LTSS;
  • Who provides LTSS; and
  • Where people with LTSS reside.
Click here to visit the Genworth “Cost of Care Survey 2018” Webpage.

Loneliness and social isolation – focus is there, solutions are emerging

fighting social isolation

Aging in Place Technology Watch and GreatCall have published a new white paper about initiatives to fight social isolation — a few of the points are excerpted here:

What has changed in the past two years?  First, the research.  Once the correlation between social isolation and poorer health outcomes was made, the volume of research spiked. From its pre-correlation measurement in the 1996 UCLA Loneliness Scale, a number of other surveys have been released that include correlation with health care costs, economic status, and lifestyle preferences. In late 2017, research from AARP’s Public Policy Institute concluded that socially isolated older adults cost the U.S. health system an additional $6.7 billion in health-related spending. Newer research from the National Institute on Aging is focusing on the connections between loneliness, long viewed as a predictor of cognitive decline, and other health risks, including:  high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.

Social isolation – is this a worsening 21st century phenomenon? Is social isolation more of a problem today than in the past. And, what is the prognosis for the future? The recent AARP report zeroed in on the key predictors of loneliness, sometimes referred to as “perceived social isolation.” Living situations and marital status may provide a clue to societal changes that result in social isolation and loneliness. In 2018, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) released its survey profile of older Americans (age 65+). It showed that while only 14 percent of the 65+ population lives alone, almost half (45 percent) of women aged 75+ live by themselves. According to Pew Research, among those 65 and older, the divorce rate has tripled since 1990.

A top predictor of loneliness is size and quality of one’s social network.  To assess these elements and their connection to loneliness, the AARP respondents were asked for both the number of people in their lives who have been supportive in the past year and the number with whom they can discuss matters of personal importance. From the study: “As expected, as one’s social network increases, loneliness decreases. Also as expected, as physical isolation decreases (the factor which included items such as disability status, number of hours spent alone and household size), so does loneliness.”

Health limitations can exacerbate social isolation. While loneliness and social isolation are emerging as public health issues, less has been published about the health issues that may lead to social isolation: mobility limitations, depression, cognitive impairment and hearing loss.  In another study, older adults with mobility impairments were more likely to report being isolated from friends. These surveys underscore the fact that elderly people are the most likely to experience social isolation and its related health effects. According to a UK study, those who provide care — including family caregivers such as children or spouses — are also known to experience loneliness in their roles and would benefit from greater societal appreciation and possible interventions such as respite care.

Untreated hearing loss contributes to social isolation.  According to government statistics, among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than 30% have ever used them. Denial and unreimbursed cost ($2400/ear) are factors, and delay in acquiring them can worsen the isolation.  Hearing aids today also offer features that include fall detection, smartphone integration, and AI capabilities.  Moving forward, Medicare Advantage plans are beginning to contribute to a portion of the cost. Audiologists play a role in managing user expectations and training an individual to adjust to the change from little or no sound to the noisy environment of stores, restaurants, office buildings and streets.

Click here to read the full white paper.

“‘Disconnected from other folks,’ seniors grapple with a loneliness epidemic” – The Boston Globe

lonely seniorsSarah Cammarata, 100, has become a regular at bingo at the Callahan Center in Framingham. Social interaction helps combat depression, senior advocates say. (PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF)”

by Robert Weisman

WOBURN — Scanning recent police reports from the Massachusetts communities under her jurisdiction, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan was alarmed to spot what she called a “tragic spike” in suicides.

“Fifty-two county residents had taken their lives in the first half of this year, a toll up almost two-thirds from last year. She knew that plenty of young people battle anxiety but was surprised to learn the residents’ average age was 46. A quarter were over 60.

“’The numbers are dramatically higher than we’ve seen in the past,’ Ryan said. Although it’s impossible to pinpoint one cause, ‘loneliness is definitely a factor,’ she said. ‘Many older people are feeling disconnected from other folks in their communities.’”

Read this Boston Globe article in its entirety here.

 

Here’s an idea worth “sharing.”

share logo

This message from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Secretary, Robert Torres, comes in the Inside Aging – August eblast. It’s an idea that many in our Service Area (Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Counties) have talked about … shared housing.

“Many of us may have experienced placing a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility—it’s a challenging process for both the family and the older adult. This can isolate the senior from regular time with family and friends and put them in a new setting to adjust to, as opposed to the comfort they have been used to in their own home or local community. The family having to rehome an older adult may worry about cost, quality of care, and a change in convenience of spending time with them.

“Aging in place is an option we know that most seniors prefer, and improving access to affordable and accessible housing is an objective of the department’s State Plan on Aging. An AARP study found that an overwhelming 90% of people age 65 and over would rather stay in their own home as they age.

“It’s important to know that there are alternatives for the seniors in our lives when it comes time to make such a difficult decision. Within the last two years, the Department of Aging has overseen the launch of two very exciting housing programs: the Shared Housing and Resource Exchange (SHARE) pilot program, and Pennsylvania’s very first Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) program.

“The SHARE housing program launched in 2017 in Pike, Wayne, and Monroe Counties in partnership with the Pike County Area Agency on Aging and the support of the counties’ commissioners. SHARE brings together homeowners with extra space in their home and individuals, referred to as home seekers, in need of affordable housing. SHARE counselors assist a matched set of homeowners and home seekers in making a plan where affordable housing is offered in exchange for rent, help around the house, or a combination of both.

“Last year, the department celebrated Pennsylvania’s first ECHO cottage in Clearfield County. Elder cottages are small, separate, manufactured residences that are temporarily placed on the side or rear yard of a host family for an older adult. This allows privacy for both the senior and host family, while at the same time assuring accessibility for both parties as necessary. Additionally, the cottages are far more cost-effective for both parties and give the older adult the option to avoid premature admission into a long-term care facility.

“SHARE and ECHO allow seniors to age in their communities, close to their family and friends, without concern of isolation. Programs like this can give families one peace of mind about their loved one’s wellbeing. If you are interested in exploring housing alternatives for an older adult, please reach out to Julie Seby, jseby@pa.gov, at the Department of Aging to learn more about these programs.”

“‘Disconnected from other folks,’ seniors grapple with a loneliness epidemic” – The Boston Globe

older dancer

by Robert Weisman

WOBURN — Scanning recent police reports from the Massachusetts communities under her jurisdiction, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan was alarmed to spot what she called a ‘tragic spike’ in suicides.

“Fifty-two county residents had taken their lives in the first half of this year, a toll up almost two-thirds from last year. She knew that plenty of young people battle anxiety but was surprised to learn the residents’ average age was 46. A quarter were over 60.

“‘The numbers are dramatically higher than we’ve seen in the past,’ Ryan said. Although it’s impossible to pinpoint one cause, ‘loneliness is definitely a factor,’ she said. ‘“Many older people are feeling disconnected from other folks in their communities.’”

Click here to continue reading this article at The Boston Globe.

 

“How Janet views independent living with disability and mental health issues” – Public Source

Janet“Janet Simeone calls ACCESS, a door-to-door paratransit service in Allegheny County, to confirm an upcoming ride. Whether or not the paratransit shows up on time is a point of anxiety for Simeone.”

“Janet Simeone never expected to live on her own. Yet at age 71, she’s four years into living alone in a Greenfield apartment.

“Simeone has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability.

Combined with depression and anxiety, she has difficulty doing things on her own, including making friends and living independently.

“Simeone lived with her aunt, Laurie Raffaele, for almost 10 years. And it was her aunt who ultimately pushed her to try living alone. She thought it would help Simeone feel control over her life and provide an opportunity for her to make friends.

“One day, her aunt told her about an apartment she’d found in Greenfield.”

Read this article at Public Source in its entirety, click here.

 

“The need is great and growing for accessible, affordable housing” | maybe this is one step toward satisfying that need?

malls to residencesShuttered stores dominate the interior of the Schuylkill Mall which has closed and been demolished in Frackville, Pennsylvania.

This article at Pennlive today, “Dead and dying malls of Pennsylvania, updated: More shopping centers are bleeding retailers.” prompted a revisited look at an idea that’s being floated across the nation.

What will become of these once-popular retail centers? Demolish them? Re-store them? Re-purpose them?

“The retail apocalypse has not been kind to malls. Credit Suisse recently studied the state of mall-based retail and predicted that that about one-fourth of the nation’s 1,100 shopping malls — or roughly 220 to 275 shopping centers — will close by 2022.”

The  above is the lead paragraph from this Forbes Magazine article: “Why Malls Should Add Residential To Their Repurposing Plans.”

Te idea that malls offer ideal solutions for affordable, accessible residences is one that has to be considered. Many malls already are on public transportation routes; they already have plenty of parking and they’re “walkable.”

This white paper by New York State Assemblyman Stephen Englebright points out other benefits for older adults and people with disabilities:

  • Mixed-use development that includes housing, shopping, amenities, and
    access to transportation and professional offices provides easy, often
    walkable, access to necessities for daily living and substantially reduces or eliminates use of personal cars—thereby, (1) helping non-driving older people and people with disabilities to remain independent for much longer periods of time, (2) keeping these individuals integrated with others in the community, and (3)  significantly supporting the caregiving efforts of family members.
  • Subsidized housing in place of distressed or vacant strip malls, or developed above prosperous malls, helps address the State’s significant need for additional affordable housing, thereby helping to keep seniors and people with disabilities living in their own communities instead of relocating.
  • Small numbers of affordable units above a box store or strip mall, or incorporated as a component of a mixed-income larger redevelopment of a shopping center furthers the integration of low- and moderate-income families and individuals into the wider community.

Another Forbes Magazine shares the thought: “4 Models Of The Shopping Mall Of The Future.”

In Providence, RI, “You Can Now Live Inside America’s First Shopping Mall for $550 a Month: But there’s already a waiting list for these new micro apartments.”