Enriching Lives As We Age

Archive for the ‘Little House’ Category

PVI and Lyft to Honor all who Served, with Lunch on Veterans Day at Little House

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Celebration to Feature Presentations by Derrick Felton of the Palo Alto VA,
the Boy Scouts of America, and the Menlo Atherton Choir

 

MENLO PARK, CA – Oct. 28, 2016 – - In tribute to all those who have served in the armed forces, Peninsula Volunteers, Inc. (PVI), will offer a complimentary lunch to all veterans and their families this Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 11:30 – 1:00 p.m. Free transportation to and from the event will be provided by Lyft.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to honor those that have served our country, and we’re so excited to partner with an innovative business in Lyft to ensure that any Veteran in our community is able to attend, regardless of their access to transportation,” said Peter Olson, CEO of PVI.

The complimentary lunch will include Cornish game hen, cranberry rice pilaf, green beans amandine, garden salad, and mini cheese cake. Non-military guests are asked to pay $10 for lunch. Ceremonial remarks by Derrick Felton, Team Leader at the Palo Alto VA will begin at noon, with a presentation by the Boys Scouts of America and a musical performance by the Menlo Atherton Choir.

The event will be held at Little House, the Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025. More information and directions are available at www.penvol.org. An RSVP is requested at (650) 272-5045.

About PVI

For almost 70 years, PVI has provided high quality and nurturing programs for the aging on the Peninsula. PVI provides programs, support and guidance for seniors in the community to allow them to pursue long and useful lives.  As life expectancy lengthens, communities need to embrace both opportunities and challenges to help aging adults maintain their dignity, independence and sense of usefulness. PVI provides innovative services including affordable senior housing, Meals on Wheels, Rosener House Adult Day Services and Little House, the Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center. www.penvol.org.

About Lyft

Lyft was founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to reconnect people and communities through better transportation. Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S and is available in more than 200 cities. Lyft is preferred by drivers and passengers for its safe and friendly experience, and its commitment to affecting positive change for the future of our cities.

 

 

Fabulous Shopping Experience Returns at Peninsula Volunteers Baubles, Bangles and Bags

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Event is Fundraiser for Menlo Park Non-Profit Dedicated to Providing Quality Senior Services

MENLO PARK, CA – Sept. 19, 2016 – - The eighth annual Baubles Bangles and Bags arrives at the Menlo Circus Club on Monday, November 7, 2016.  Peninsula Volunteers’ signature silent auction is always a shopping paradise with vintage, designer and specialty handbags and baubles, as well as themed gift baskets, mystery boxes, and four special Christmas trees.   There will be some very special handbags available for purchase, including a Judith Leiber Carousel bag donated by Mrs. Diane B. Wilsey of San Francisco, and a very unique Hermes Vibrato Kelly bag.   Other in-demand labels include Yves St. Laurent, Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, and Stella McCartney.

The day consists of silent auction, champagne and specialty cheeses, seated luncheon and special speakers, including:

Christopher Tattanelli is a member of a four generation Italian family business, Il Fiorentino, that produces high end leather goods for five leading international brands,.  Christopher will enthrall attendees with insider information on how to identify a well made handbag and what “Made in Italy” truly means.

Ashley McCumber, Executive Director and CEO of Meals on Wheels of San Francisco and Chair of the Board of Meals on Wheels America, will be a special guest and will share information about the trends in senior hunger.

Chaired by Mrs. Gidu Shroff of Atherton, the event co-chairs include: Mrs. Gary Carville of Los Altos, Mrs. John Grillos of Sonoma, Mrs. John Jerrehian of Los Altos Hills, Mrs. Bob Sturm of Rocklin, and Mrs. Jim Woodson of Atherton.

Tickets are $175 and are available by calling Cathy Duhring at 650-272-5001.

About PVI – For almost 70 years, PVI has provided high quality and nurturing programs for the aging on the Peninsula. PVI provides programs, support and guidance for seniors in the community to allow them to pursue long and useful lives.  As life expectance lengthens, communities need to embrace both opportunities and challenges to help aging adults maintain their dignity, independence and sense of usefulness. PVI provides innovative services including affordable senior housing, Meals on Wheels, Rosener House Adult Day Services and Little House, the Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center.

www.penvol.org # # #

Peter Olson Appointed CEO for Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Peninsula Volunteers Inc. (PVI), a non-profit organization serving older adults on the mid-Peninsula, is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Olson as its new Chief Executive Officer.  Serving as PVI’s Director of Little House, The Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center, since 2010, Peter is ideally suited to provide leadership for PVI as it enters into its next chapter of expanding services and evolving to meet the needs of today’s seniors.

As CEO Peter will oversee Peninsula Volunteers‘ four major programs:
1) Meals on Wheels providing over 78,000 hot, nutritious meals yearly to home-bound older adults in San Mateo County;  2) Rosener House , Adult Day Services providing a therapeutic activity program for over 150 clients and respite care for 400+ family caregivers; 3) Little House, The Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center, providing an extensive array of services centered on health, wellness, and social interaction to over 3,500 community members annually; 4) Senior Housing in Menlo Park currently providing 82% of the affordable housing for community seniors;.

“I am excited to lead Peninsula Volunteers into its eighth decade,” said Peter Olson, CEO of PVI.  “Since opening its doors in 1947, PVI has been providing quality, innovative services and housing for the aging adults in Menlo Park and beyond, and it thrills me to carry this legacy forward.”

“We are delighted that Peter Olson has agreed to accept the role of CEO and lead Peninsula Volunteers in addressing the ever evolving needs of our growing senior population,” said Susan Sweeney, outgoing Board Chair of PVI.  “His excellent nonprofit leadership skills, his enthusiasm and ability to work effectively with a wide variety of individuals and organizations, and his vision and breadth of understanding of our senior community and the opportunities ahead for PVI make Peter the perfect leader in moving the organization forward in its expanding community role.”

In addition to his experiences at PVI, Peter has over 25 years of experience working in the not-for-profit sector, specifically older adults, individuals with special needs, and children. Peter’s professional experience includes the Director, Public Affairs and Communications for Easter Seals Bay Area and the Health and Wellness Director at the Easter Seals Timpany Center in San Jose. A graduate of San Jose State University, Peter enjoys the active outdoor lifestyle of the San Francisco Peninsula, spending time fishing, backpacking, cycling and is dedicated to spending time with his daughter.

Started by a group of forward thinking community leaders in 1947, PVI is a pioneer in providing high quality programs for Peninsula seniors, enabling them to maintain their dignity, independence, and sense of usefulness.  During the last year the PVI board and staff have been working with community leaders to align the services of Little House more closely to the needs of a changing senior population.

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About Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.
Peninsula Volunteers, Inc. is a pioneer serving older adults. Through its programs – Meals on Wheels, Rosener House Adult Day Services, and the Little House, Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center, – more than $5 million in services are delivered each year to 4,500 households, including 150,000 hot meals to seniors and the homebound.  Peninsula Volunteers Properties (PVP) provides 82% of the affordable senior housing in Menlo Park.

Combatting Senior Malnutrition

Friday, September 30th, 2016

By Holly Kellner Greuling RDN, National Nutritionist for the Administration on Aging

Senior Malnutrition in our country is an epidemic hiding in plain sight. It is estimated that almost 50 percent of older Americans are malnourished. During Malnutrition Awareness week let’s commit to ending this problem.

Many inter-related factors can contribute to malnutrition. Some elderly people may live in a food desert and may not be able to buy nutrient-dense food. Some may not have the stamina to cook a meal or may not want to cook because they are feeling down. Others may not eat because they do not feel well enough to eat.

Many people are surprised to hear that malnutrition in our country is usually not due to a lack of funds to purchase food. But if you know someone who struggles to eat well for financial reasons, help is available. The USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help people determine whether they qualify.

Malnutrition is defined as a nutrition imbalance that affects both overweight and underweight individuals and it sneaks up on people. Because malnutrition generally occurs over time, you cannot suspect malnutrition from just looking at someone. That is why malnutrition hides in plain sight.

Fortunately, there are changes that you can watch for that serve as clues:

  • Unintentional weight loss of 5 percent of body weight or more per month, even if overweight
  • Normally worn clothes looking loose or baggy
  • Eating less at meal time
  • Failing strength, wobbly walking or weakened hand grip
  • Changes in denture fit, or dentures that appear to be floating in the mouth

Malnutrition greatly affects one’s abilities to remain healthy, especially when faced with a serious health situation. In fact, approximately 30 percent of older people admitted to the hospital arrive malnourished and being malnourished while in the hospital will generally increase the length of stay.

The Aging Network created through the Older Americans Act has provided community-based nutrition programs that help sustain the nutritional status of older adults since 1972. The network has the knowledge to address senior malnutrition within the community and can partner effectively with local providers and health care organizations that serve older adults. And we know these programs work: In recent surveys, 76 percent of people who participate in meals programs at senior centers and in other group settings indicated that they eat healthier foods and that their health has improved as a result of the nutrition program. Eighty-four percent of the people who receive home-delivered meals indicate the same.

Want to help decrease senior malnutrition? Please consider the following:

  • If you are concerned about your nutritional status or that of a loved one:
  • If you or your loved one are hospitalized and have been diagnosed with malnutrition:
    • Ask how it will be handled after discharge.
  • If you represent a community-based health care organization, or your program is funded by the Older Americans Act:
  • If you are a health care provider:
    • Add an in-home nutritional assessment and (if necessary) nutritional programs to your services. This one service could help you locate your malnourished participants in enough time to act and prevent further decline.
  • If you are a medical provider or health care institution:
    • Establish protocols for malnutrition screening and offer nutritional interventions during hospitalization and after discharge.

We can make a difference in the fight against Senior Malnutrition. The actions you take now could decrease the incidence, emotional strain, and health care costs associated with this generally treatable condition.

Brought to you by the Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Issues Facing Older Drivers Who May be Losing their Ability to Drive

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Below is a story from the Caregivers Library (www.caregiverslibrary.org) about the issues facing seniors, as they lose their ability to drive. At Little House, we’ve come up with a way to help our non-driving members stay active here at Little House. Through a partnership with the Sequoia Healthcare District, we will coordinate rides to and from Little House via Lyft – all for only $4.00 per ride (the rest of the cost is subsidized). So don’t let a transportation issue keep you from participating in all the activities you want at Little House!

 

Losing The Ability To Drive

Currently, there are about 8.4 million senior citizens who depend on others for their transportation. Shortly, the number of older drivers will more than double, making the issue of senior transportation even more critical. In fact, according to the Administration on Aging, by the year 2030 the number of drivers over age 85 will be 4–5 times what it is today. Because America’s roads and automobiles are not designed for the existing elderly population—and because the skills and abilities associated with driving tend to diminish with age—viable alternate forms of transportation for the elderly will continue to be an important issue for years to come.

Generally, no individual plans for a time when he or she will no longer be able to drive. In fact, your loved one probably assumes that he or she will know when to stop driving, and at the same time, he or she probably believes that some of his or her friends aren’t safe drivers. Most individuals, however, never realize that it is time to stop driving. Instead, when faced with the lack of access to essential services, loss of social independence, reduced mobility, and isolation that come as a result of restricted or terminated driving privileges, an older adult often becomes defensive of his or her ability and right to drive. Even individuals who realize that driving may pose a threat to themselves and others struggle through the question of whether or not to give up the wheel.

As a caregiver, you may also struggle with when and how to tell your loved one that he or she needs to restrict or terminate driving activities. Even health care professionals and policy makers who are somewhat removed from the issue struggle to decide what conditions constitute poor driving behavior and the need for driving restrictions.

If your loved one recognizes his or her loss of driving ability or skill, he or she can use adapted driving patterns, thereby increasing his or her safety. The age-related changes associated with driving often occur in a predictable sequence over a number of years and cause a gradual narrowing the individual’s social world. These changes include:

  1. Physical and mental changes
  2. Age-related functional declines or skill loss lead to less driving
  3. Less driving leads to less overall mobility
  4. Less overall mobility leads to increased isolation and other quality of life changes

While these changes happen to many individuals, your loved one won’t necessarily experience each one. In fact, the condition of seniors who receive support throughout this process may even improve because these individuals benefit from programs—including alternative transportation modes, driver retraining, physical therapy, or relocation—for seniors with driving difficulties. These individuals generally:

  • Have a strong connection to a religious organization
  • Live in communities with viable non-driving transportation
  • Live with children or have children in the area
  • Reduce social activities and personal expectations to fit present circumstances
  • Have spouses or significant others who drive
  • Have sufficient financial resources to secure transportation
  • Have the physical ability to use alternate methods of transportation

However, the majority of older adults are not supported throughout this process and experience emotional, mobility, monetary, psychological, and social loss. More specifically, these losses can include feeling a loss of social status and spontaneity and an increase in planning and waiting time. Often, a non-driving individual feels that he or she must always plan around others’ schedules, and that trips are increasingly made out of necessity rather than for social reasons. These feelings can make asking family and friends for transportation incredibly difficult.

This may be especially true if your loved one has always been independent and self-sufficient. Such individuals often feel that the requested transportation is a favor that can’t be repaid. In contrast, whereas most caregivers would like their loved ones to feel comfortable requesting transportation, providing such transportation makes demands on caregivers’ time and money.

Alternate Transportation

The types of alternate transportation available in your loved one’s community will depend on the location and structure of the community. There are three general types of transportation for the elderly, including door-to-door, fixed route, and ridesharing. Door-to-door, or demand response, is a system where advance reservations are made to take an elderly individual from one place to another. Normally these services provide comfort and flexibility, and charge a small fee. Fixed route or scheduled services transport elderly individuals between fixed stops on a route. For this reason, reservations are not required, although a small fee is often charged for each ride. Finally, ridesharing programs coordinate rides for elderly persons with someone who has automobile space. Ridesharing is scheduled and involves a specific destination such as medical appointments, nutrition sites, places of employment, or senior centers.

Unfortunately for some older adults, some of the same skills and abilities that are associated with driving are required for the safe use of many alternate transportation methods. Yet, multiple interventions have been suggested as possible methods for lessening the consequences of this transition. These include:

  • Factual educational materials provided to the elderly
  • Improving driver capabilities
  • Improving mass transit and the image of mass transit
  • Positively framed discussions relating to the driving transition
  • Programs that offer dignified transportation for the elderly

The Administration on Aging is currently calling for these changes to be made as soon as possible, as the predicted increase in elderly drivers, traffic fatalities related to elderly driving, and social isolation resulting from the driving-to-non-driving transition continues. In the meantime, it is important for you, as a caregiver, to help your loved one obtain and use safe methods of transportation.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Find this, and other helpful information, at

www.CaregiversLibrary.org

Sequoia Healthcare District Awards Grants to Peninsula Volunteers, Inc. Funding Will Improve Health of Community Seniors

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

June 28, 2016 – Menlo Park, CA  At a luncheon presentation for awardees on June 23, 2016, Sequoia Healthcare District renewed its commitment to the health and welfare of residents of the District by giving Caring Community Grants to 41 organizations, including two programs of Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.(PVI)—Meals on Wheels and Rosener House Adult Day Services.  

Meals on Wheels was awarded $100,000 to assist District residents who are not able to cook and shop for themselves by delivering a hot, nutritious meal every day.  Currently, PVI Meals on Wheels delivers over 1,700 meals weekly to San Mateo County residents.   The Meals on Wheels delivery team are trained to do wellness checks on participants while delivering meals, a vital component of the program.   

Rosener House Adult Day Services was awarded $75,000 to help families in the District access the day program which promotes health, independence, and dignity for older adults with limitations and chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, post-stroke, and Parkinson’s disease, preventing hospitalizations and premature institutionalization.  Family caregivers are provided much-needed respite from their constant responsibilities plus support services.  All PVI programs are designed to help residents age in place.  

The Sequoia Healthcare District is committed to returning to the community 100% of property tax revenue in health-related programs and services.  Its mission is to improve the health of District residents by enhancing access to care and promoting wellness.  In total, District grants and programs directly benefit at least 50,000 residents per year, or about one out of every 4.5 residents.  The District is mindful of the health needs of all residents focusing primarily on vulnerable populations with special attention directed to dental, mental health, the elderly and the young child. 

Contact:  Peter Olson, CEO Phone:  650-326-0665 X 5010 polson@peninsulavolunteers.org www.penvol.org

www.sequoiahealthcaredistrict.com

About Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.

For almost 70 years, PVI has created and provided high quality and nurturing programs for the aging on the Peninsula.  PVI provides programs, support and guidance for seniors in the community to allow them to pursue long and useful lives.  As life expectancy lengthens, communities need to embrace both opportunities and challenges to help aging adults maintain their dignity, independence, and sense of usefulness.  PVI provides innovative services including senior affordable housing, Meals on Wheels, Rosener House Adult Day Services, and Little House, the Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center. 

Seniors Now Able to Grab a Lyft: Non-profit, Health Care District Offers Discount Rides to Little House Members

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Transportation is a hot-button topic for nearly everyone commuting in the Bay Area. But one local nonprofit and special district are starting to use the increasingly popular ride sharing economy for a somewhat unlikely demographic — seniors. Peninsula Volunteers and the Sequoia Healthcare District have teamed up with Lyft to help able-bodied seniors avoid isolation by offering discounted rides to those visiting local senior centers.

Currently a small pilot program, the nonprofit connects older adults who are no longer driving with rides to the Little House senior center in Menlo Park. Seniors pay just $4 per Lyft, while the health care district picks up the remainder, said Peter Olson, interim executive director of Peninsula Volunteers, and health care district CEO Lee Michelson.

“One of the things that’s a constant discussion for older adults and people who serve them is transportation. It always comes up as a major concern. Especially for people who stop driving. They often become socially isolated and it’s not always convenient for them to use public transportation and taxis can be expensive. So we’re looking for more options,” Michelson said.

Just a month into the program, there are about 15 to 19 regular users who’ve reported positive experiences. Users call Little House staff, who arrange a Lyft that usually arrives in about 10 minutes and averages about $10 per ride, Michelson and Olson said. Staff is able to track their status, update users if there’s a delay and help retain members who stopped visiting the center after no longer being able to drive, Olson said.

Thus far, it has cost the district about $100 and depending on how the pilot goes this summer, they may consider expanding it to help seniors get to medical appointments, according to organizers.

There are several transit options for seniors such as public transportation, calling a cab or arranging a ride with SamTrans’ Redi-Wheels shuttle. This program is just another possibility that both Olson and Michelson noted is only available to able-bodied seniors who don’t need significant help getting into a car and can afford the $8 round trip.

“Transportation is an issue everybody’s facing and it’s no surprise. And there’s some great opportunities out there, but we were just looking for something a little different. There are all these ride shares, Uber and Lyft programs, that are growing in popularity. So why not take advantage of that? And for us, it seemed to be the most cost-efficient and it gives the user the most independence,” Olson said.

Both noted Redi-Wheels can be a great, very low-cost option, but it often requires advanced planning and the commute may be long as shuttles transporting several riders make multiple stops. Peninsula Volunteers decided to go with Lyft after hearing about a program the pink mustache brand was running in New York. The company had tried a “concierge” program that focused on seniors getting to hospitals or doctors appointments. The company has showed an interest in being a resource for seniors, Olson and Michelson said.

“We are proud to bring seniors, many of whom have regular medical appointments and limited transportation options, reliable and welcoming rides,” a Lyft spokesman said in an email.

Participants pay the nonprofit directly at the time of service and Lyft sends Peninsula Volunteers a monthly bill. The health care district makes up for the difference in cost. The program is targeted toward Little House members who stopped visiting after they ceased driving or didn’t have reliable transportation, Michelson said.

“It’s in line with what we’re trying to do, which is keep folks healthy, keep them active, keep them socially connected. Because we know socially connected people do better from a health perspective and we’re willing to put in some money at this point,” Michelson said.

But at least one member of the health care district’s Board of Directors said he’s concerned about the program that may be spending taxpayer funds outside district boundaries.

“I believe a lot of people that do go to Little House come from areas that are not in the district,” said district Director Jack Hickey, a taxpayer advocate who added the senior center should ask the cities it serves and county to pitch in. “That would be the reasonable way to go about it. There’s plenty of sources for funding and it’s not appropriate for the district, which has specific geographical boundaries that don’t support lending to agencies like this.”

Little House is technically within the boundaries of the health care district, which covers about 11 zip codes from Portola Valley and Menlo Park to Belmont and parts of San Mateo. The pilot was also expanded to the San Carlos Adult Community Center with Little House staff operating calls for those seniors as well. After testing the pilot this summer, Michelson said the district’s board will be presented with a report and a possible proposal to expand it as a convenient way for seniors to get to a doctor’s appointment.

“This is a direct to and from route and it’s on demand and so in my mind, that is as close to having your own car right now as we can get,” Olson said. “I think it’s a great alternative, it’s innovative and it’s just a different approach.”

samantha@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

- See more at: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2016-07-05/seniors-now-able-to-grab-a-lyft-nonprofit-health-care-district-offers-discount-rides-to-little-house-members/1776425164553.html#sthash.XXDQCpb8.dpuf

 

 

PVI Selected for Sereno Groups’ ‘1% for Good’ Program

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Real Estate Agency Pledges to Donate Percentage of Sales Commission

MENLO PARK, CA – Feb. 17, 2016 – - Peninsula Volunteers, Inc. (PVI)/Little House, is honored to have been selected by the Sereno Group as one of the recipients of its “1% for Good” program. Under the provisions of this initiative, Sereno Group employees have pledged to give 1% of their gross commissions to this community-focused organization committed to making positive differences in the communities the real estate agency serves.

Sereno Group is committed to and aspires to be a socially conscious real estate broker. “It’s an honor to have been selected by a company that values our work with aging adults,” said Peter Olson, Director of Little House. “Their donations are an investment in the future of our community and the quality of life for our senior clients. We are grateful to receive their support and financial commitment.” The company’s 1% for Good charitable movement donated over $400,000 to local charities and community-minded organizations, and Sereno Group was recognized as one of the top 50 most philanthropic corporations in the Bay Area.

PVI provides high quality and nurturing programs focusing on an active mind and body, experienced in a social environment, allows aging adults to embrace the symptoms of aging with health and a sense of self-worth and self-sufficiency; improving their quality of life. In addition to Little House, Activity Center, PVI operates three long-standing programs where aging adults are cared for, respected, and engaged as vital community members:  Senior Affordable Housing, Meals on Wheels, and Rosener House.

“Each year, public funding falls short in providing full operational revenue for our non-profit,” said Karae Lisle, CEO of PVI. “Consequently, PVI relies on charitable donations to close the annual funding gap. Community support, like this innovative Sereno Group program, provides critical support to our senior clients who built the neighborhoods we enjoy living and working in. We are grateful for the benevolence of this well-respected real estate agency.”

About PVI

As life expectancy lengthens, communities need to embrace both opportunities and challenges to help aging adults maintain their dignity, independence and sense of usefulness. Peninsula Volunteers, Inc. (PVI) provides innovative services and housing to support aging adults in the
mid-Peninsula and Silicon Valley. Through its programs – Senior Affordable Housing, Meals on Wheels, Rosener House Adult Day Services, and the Little House, Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center, more than $8 million in services are delivered each year to 4,500 households, including 1500 weekly hot meals to seniors and the homebound. www.peninsulavolunteers.org.

About Sereno Group

Open since July 1, 2006, Sereno Group Real Estate has quickly established itself as a market leader by continually attracting top-producing agents in the Silicon Valley. During this time, Sereno Group has achieved the highest per agent productivity for residential real estate brokers in the counties it serves. The company, which has been ranked the #1 Best Place to Work in the Bay Area for six years, now has eight offices.The 290 agents of Sereno Group serve the Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties and point beyond. www.serenogroup.com.

Minding Our Elders: Steps to take when planning for future caregiving

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Dear Carol: I’m an only surviving adult child. My parents, who are in their late 70s, have been healthy and active all of their lives. They have no trouble keeping track of their medications. They haven’t fallen and don’t have memory problems beyond what you’d expect with age. Even then, as I see the years pass I know that one day I’ll be a caregiver in that I’ll be making decisions for them. How do I prepare? — Gerald

Dear Gerald: Your parents have been blessed with good health and long lives but, as you’ve acknowledged, few people live with great health until the end of their days. It’s smart and caring of you to want to prepare for the time when they will likely need assistance.

First, it’s essential that you discuss the legal work. Even if your parents have had powers of attorney for health and finances drawn up, these documents need to be re-examined routinely. They likely have each other listed first as their appointed agent, but it’s possible that at this stage of their lives they may want to include you as the alternate if they haven’t done so already. Also, their wills should be written to address what they want done when one spouse dies as well as what they want to happen when they are both gone.

From there, my advice is to have an open, ongoing dialogue with them about their preferences as they age. If you see them often, make it a natural part of the conversation from time to time.  Ask questions about how your grandparents lived their last years. As an alternative, asking questions about their friends who may be facing the same issues as they face can be a good opener for a conversation about your parents’ choices.

Close couples often become like one in their support of each other, filling in gaps in memory and abilities. That’s good. Honor this as part of their marriage. Try to be aware of important changes, though, being careful not to be overly intrusive or overbearing. If your parents stay cognitively sound, respect that fact though you can invite them to ask for your input at any time.

If they are still in their own home and want to stay there, you could investigate home upgrades for elder safety. You also may want to look into retirement-living options with graduated care so that if one spouse needs assisted living and the other needs nursing services they can remain in the same complex. Once you have information on some viable options, you can work the information into the ongoing, flexible conversation.

It may be helpful for you to become familiar with a new government website at aging.gov. Here you’ll find your parents’ state listed and from that point you’ll see that state’s resources. You can explore links at your leisure so that when the time comes that you need helpful resources you’ll be prepared.

Educate yourself about end-of-life care, as well, including how far to take treatments and when to look at palliative care or hospice. Talk with your parents to make certain that they understand the different options.

Most of all, reassure your parents that you want to comply with what they would choose as much as reality will allow. Don’t make promises that you might not be able to keep, but assure them that you’ll do your best to follow their wishes.

Carol Bradley Bursack is the author of a support book on caregiving and runs a website supporting caregivers at www.mindingourelders.com. She can be reached at carolbursack@msn.com.

US deaths from Alzheimer’s disease rise significantly

Monday, December 14th, 2015

From: dailymail.com; by AFP PUBLISHED: 06:19 EST, 9 December 2015

Nearly 10,000 more people died of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States last year than in 2013, a significant rise of 8.1 %, according to US health data released Wednesday.

Global health authorities have warned that cases of Alzheimer’s — the most common form of dementia — would soar along with the aging population in the coming years.

But whether the latest data shows a true rise in Alzheimers death, or just a more frequent accounting of Alzheimer’s as a cause of death, remains a matter of debate.

The 8.1 % rise was the highest seen among the top 10 causes of death in the United States, the report by the National Center for Health Statistics found. 

Alzheimer’s deaths rose from

  • 84,767 in 2013 to 93,541 in 2014, a NCHS spokesman told AFP.

According to Marc Gordon, an Alzheimer’s researcher and chief of Neurology at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York, the data comes from information recorded on death certificates.  “It is unclear to what extent more people are dying from Alzheimer’s disease, or whether Alzheimer’s disease is increasingly recognized by clinicians as a cause of death,” said Gordon, who was not involved in the NCHS study.

An uptick in death rates were also seen for unintentional injuries (up 2.8 %), suicide (up 3.2 %) and stroke (0.8 %). 

  • the leading cause of death — heart disease — fell 1.6 %,
  • while cancer deaths dropped 1.2 % and
  • deaths from influenza and pneumonia fell 5%

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the only one of the 10 leading causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed.  One in three seniors will die of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, experts say.

“Alzheimer’s is having a rapidly growing impact on American society,” said Matthew Baumgart, senior director of public policy at the Alzheimer’s Association.  “Alzheimer’s death rates have been rising steadily over the past 15 years –- increasing 40% since 2000, when the new data are included,” he added.  Baumgart said increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease has meant more people report it as a cause of death.

Another factor in the increase is “large investments by the federal government in research for other diseases have led to decreases in deaths from other causes,” he told AFP.  “This means more people are living longer and to an age where they are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s -– and dying from it.”

About 5.3 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Worldwide, some 46.8 million people currently have dementia, and that number is expected to triple by the year 2050, reaching some 131.5 million, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International.

The disease carries a heavy cost burden, costing the world $818 billion in 2015.