Check out Chefs for Seniors! Their website has been revamped

500s-demo-day-batch-17-chefs-for-seniors-1-638.jpg

Chefs for Seniors is a cool company that we have previously featured. But we love to shine the spotlight on businesses that help seniors stay independent.

 Since last year they have revamped their website to include examples of menu items, an option to get a quote on pricing. They do all the grocery shopping for you, cook the meals in your home, leaving 10-12 meals for you to enjoy. Plus, they are trained to cater to the various dietary needs of seniors.

There is the option for weekly or even bi-weekly visits. They seem to have really gone out of their way to allow a ton of flexibility for their clients needs. If you haven't already looked into them, check out their site below.




https://chefsforseniors.com/

New clients use Promo Code NEW10 to receive $10 off your first week of meals.



How to Beat the Summer Heat

Fighting Off the Summer Heat for Seniors.jpg

The summer heatwave has arrived! With more 90+ degree days in the week ahead, here is some good info to keep your senior cool. 

The heat of summer is here and it is an important time to review some vital safety tips for seniors. Elderly persons are more prone to the effects of heat and at greater risk for dehydration. According to the CDC, elderly people are more at risk because:

  • Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.

  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.

  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.

Make sure you or someone you can trust is checking in on your elderly family and friends. Here are some senior safety tips for the summer months as well as some ways to “beat the heat”.

  • Try to plan activities that require going outside during non-peak hours when it might be a little cooler. Such as gardening/weeding in the morning.

  • Move exercise indoors. Consider exercising at a gym, walking on a treadmill, or “mall walking” instead of outdoor walks or activities. Swimming and water aerobics are good options as well.

  • Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic, caffeine-free as these ingredients have a diuretic effect). Talk with your doctor if you take medications that affect fluid intake, such as Lasix.

  • Additionally, it may be important to consume food and drink with sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance when losing fluids and drinking a lot of water: broths or soups (contain sodium); fruit juice, soft fruits, vegetables (containing potassium); sports drinks that contain electrolytes.

  • Stay indoors in cooled spaces as much as possible. Check your loved one’s air conditioning system, do a maintenance review. If electricity goes out or your loved one does not have air conditioning, consider alternative arrangements when heat is at dangerous levels.

  • Be aware of signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

  • Consult with their doctor or pharmacist about what medications may cause sensitivity to direct sunlight or heat.

The most common signs of dehydration in the elderly are thirst, confusion, irritability and poor skin elasticity. Keeping hydrated on a regular basis is the most important preventative measure, and individuals should be encourage to drink fluids even when not thirsty as thirst may not be triggered until already dehydrated. Heat and dehydration may make seniors more prone to dizziness and falls and can cause/increase confusion.

Heat exhaustion is the more mild form of heat-related illness, that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • Heavy sweating

  • Paleness

  • Muscle Cramps

  • Tiredness

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Fainting

  • Skin: may be cool and moist

  • Pulse rate: fast and weak

  • Breathing: fast and shallow



Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)

  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)

  • Rapid, strong pulse

  • Throbbing headache

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

Any indication of heat stroke is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical attention.


Be aware of other summer dangers. Pools can pose a drowning hazard. Safety precautions should be considered if you are caring for a senior in your home with a pool or your elderly loved one lives alone and has a pool. Consider locks or a safety fence. Similarly, talk with your loved one about alternatives if he/she handles a lot of the maintenance around the home, such as weeding, cleaning gutters and trimming trees. This may be especially dangerous in the heat, but may also pose general risks for falling and safety. Insect bites and sun exposure are two other summer dangers. Be vigilant about sunscreen and protect against insect bites. If you or someone you know has a bite that seems abnormal or you notice any unusual symptoms, seek medical attention.

For many seniors is that their support systems dwindle when neighbors spend time away on vacations. If your loved one depends on neighbors for support or you depend on them to check in, be realistic about these changes during the summer. Consider what extra services might be needed, such as hiring a home care aide to visit or assist with errands or transportation. Make regular calls or visits and talk with family, friends and neighbors about a system for checking in, especially during drastic heat or summer storms.


https://easylivingfl.com/elderly-summer-precautions-senior-care-tips/

Heat_Exposure_Precautions_t750x550.jpg

Check us out in the Seniors Blue Book!

Blue Book PIc.jpg

Maintain Me is proud to advertise in the Seniors Blue Book.

Not only is it a great resource for the senior community but it also features The National Placement & Referral Alliance. As active members of the NPRA we love using this book!

So where can you find us???

North Book
Maintain Me: Page 194
Housing Placement and Resource Specialist: Page 162
NPRA: Page 164

South Book
Maintain Me: Page 231
Housing Placement and Resource Specialist: Page 26
NPRA: Page 235


There is no age limit on falling in love.

The couple each had two spouses who died before they met and fell in love in their 100s and got married again.

The couple each had two spouses who died before they met and fell in love in their 100s and got married again.

100-year-old man and 102-year-old woman tie the knot after a year of dating.

These centenarians show it's never too late for love after meeting at an assisted living facility.

John Cook Sr., 100, and his new wife, Phyllis, 102, who met in an Ohio assisted living facility, tied the knot last week after dating for about a year. "To tell you the truth, we fell in love with each other," Phyllis Cook told NBC affiliate WNWO. "I know you think that may be a little bit far-fetched for somebody our age, but we fell in love with each other."

The Cooks have each lost two spouses, making this the third marriage for both of them. John, who served in World War II, met Phyllis at the Kingston Residence in Sylvania, and love soon blossomed. The two got their marriage license together on June 26, which turned into their impromptu wedding ceremony.

"It wasn't the plan, but we got there and they said, 'Well, we could marry you here,''' John told WNWO. "I said 'Good, let's get it over with.'

"We were just compatible in a whole lot of ways, (and) found ourselves enjoying each other's company."
Unlike couples who live into their hundreds and celebrate seven or eight decades of marriage, the Cooks are the rare couple to find love again after turning 100.

"Congratulations to the newlyweds," the staff at Kingston Residence wrote on Facebook. "It's never too late to find love!!! Join us in congratulating the happy couple!!!" The next milestone for the couple will be Phyllis turning 103 on Aug. 8. Longevity is in her genes, as she told WNWO that her mother lived to be 106.

The couple spends time together eating and sitting in the sun every day, but each still has their own space living in separate apartments at the facility.

Despite their age, the romance between the two still has plenty of spark. John was asked what he loves to do the most with Phyllis.

“Well,” he said, "I probably shouldn’t talk about that."



July 5, 2019, 10:57 AM MDT / Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump
https://www.today.com/news/100-year-old-man-102-year-old-woman-get-married-t157773

Can social interaction predict cognitive decline?

article-55-plus-communities-@1X.jpg

A recent study concludes that social interaction might be more than just a pleasant pastime; it might help doctors predict an individual's risk of cognitive decline and, perhaps, dementia.

Cognitive decline refers to a general reduction in mental abilities over time.It affects many people as they age and, in some cases, can lead to dementia.As the average age of the population rises, an increasing number of people are likely to experience cognitive decline.

A group of researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, are interested in the potential role that social interaction might play.Specifically, their most recent study looked at whether there is an interaction between levels of social activity, cognitive performance, and the amount of beta-amyloid in the brain, which is a neurological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

Cognitive decline and sociability
To investigate, the scientists followed 217 older adults involved in the Harvard Aging Brain Study. At the beginning of the study, participants were aged 63–89 and showed no cognitive deficits. The authors followed the group for 3 years.

Each participant completed a questionnaire that ascertained their levels of social interaction; this included meeting family and friends, religious activities, and volunteer work.

The researchers also measured levels of beta-amyloid in each participant's brain. As expected, there was significant variability, with some people having much higher levels, putting them at increased risk of developing Alzheimer's.

The authors published their findings in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Although earlier studies have shown a relationship between social engagement and cognitive decline, scientists have not fleshed out the relationship between these two factors and levels of beta-amyloid in the brain.

A complex picture emerges
Overall, the authors found no relationship between social interaction and cognitive decline. However, when they delved into the beta-amyloid data, a pattern formed.

The researchers found that the influence of social activity was significant in individuals who had the highest levels of beta-amyloid in their brains. In this group, those with the lowest levels of social interaction showed higher levels of cognitive decline than individuals with similar levels of beta-amyloid but greater levels of social activity.

They also found that individuals who had lower cognitive abilities at the start of the study were more likely to become less socially engaged over the 3 years.

This effect remained significant even after the researchers accounted for a range of variables, including education, sex, level of social interaction at baseline, and age.

Interestingly, this relationship was not related to levels of beta-amyloid in the brain, which was counter to the authors' expectations.

These findings and those from earlier studies point to a relationship between social engagement and cognitive decline. However, it is still not clear whether individuals who socialize less are more at risk, or whether cognitive decline increases the likelihood of social withdrawal. Similarly, the relationship could run both ways and probably varies between individuals.

Conclusions and the future
The current study concludes that individuals with higher levels of beta-amyloid and reduced levels of social interaction might have an increased risk of more substantial cognitive decline.

The authors of the current study hope that their findings, one day, will help predict those who are most at risk of cognitive decline.

"Social engagement and cognitive function are related to one another and appear to decline together. This means that social engagement may be an important marker of resilience or vulnerability in older adults at risk of cognitive impairment."- Senior author Dr. Nancy Donovan

Although the findings are interesting, the study has a number of limitations. Firstly, the study only included data from 217 individuals, and the researchers followed them for just 3 years. Also, participants only completed questionnaires at the beginning and end of the study, so their answers may not represent levels of social interaction in the intervening years.

The authors also mention that current measures of social engagement need updating. For instance, they do not account for online interactions which, of course, can vary greatly and are not necessarily related to in-person social engagement.

Also, the current study could not control for certain potentially important factors, such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, and apathy. These factors can play a role in reducing the desire to interact socially; and according to earlier studies carried out by the same researchers, both loneliness and anxiety might have independent associations with Alzheimer's.

In the future, the authors would like to build on these findings. They plan to carry out work with a larger group and follow them for a greater length of time. So, although research has still not solidified the relationship between social interaction, cognitive decline, the current work will help toward building a clearer picture.

By Tim Newman
Fact checked by Paula Field
Link to article:
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325615.php

Have a Senior Friendly 4th!

Dollarphotoclub_84876377_opt.jpg

4th of July is a wonderful holiday filled with traditions that people of all ages look forward to. 

Whether you are yourself a senior or you are simply a caregiver for an elderly loved one, you can adapt many of your favorite Independence Day celebrations for older adults.

  1. Limit the amount of direct sunlight your senior will be exposed to. The hot 4th of July sun can wear anyone out as well as run the risk of burns.

  2. Many elderly people take medications that don’t react well when mixed with sun exposure either. Provide seating in a shady spot where the temperature is cooler.

  3. Choose to have gatherings in parks with pavilions or set up a party tent if activities are in your backyard.

  4. Seniors can become chilled quicker than others. Don’t forget to bring along a blanket and jacket for evening events like the local fireworks display.

  5. Always have a comfortable seating option on hand as well. This could be as simple as carrying a cushion with you or maybe you’ll need a lawn chair or wheelchair.

  6. Dehydration is always a risk on hot summer days. Bring along your senior’s favorite beverages. Encourage them to drink frequently by joining them for ice cold lemonade. Work regular bathroom breaks into the day to avoid accidents.

  7. Those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s should not be excluded from holiday activities. Instead, let them join in on the fun, but limit their time to reduce the chance of them becoming anxious, agitated, or angry.

Below is a link that lists all fireworks displays for
Denver and surrounding areas

https://theknow.denverpost.com/2018/06/27/denver-july-fourth-fireworks-events-2018/188145/

Have a Safe & Happy 4th!


What a great end to the week with another 5 Star Review!

Capture.JPG

What a great end to the week with another 5 Star Review for our coordinator Morgan.

Morgan has been with Maintain Me since Day 1 and it shows. She's a wealth of knowledge and positivity for our clients and an invaluable member of our team.

Many thanks to Kristin for taking the time to write a review! We strive to find ideal outcomes during what can be trying times for families. It's always wonderful to hear that we were able to provide you with the support you needed.

Capture2.JPG

New Tech Options are Helping Seniors Age in Place

Untitled-design-5.jpg

The beauty of technology is that its always improving and evolving. If there's a need, a tech driven solution doesn't seem
to be far behind.

Here are some systems that offer reminders and assistance are creating “monitored independence”. 

By Gabi Redford,

Kaiser Health News on March 12, 2018


Nancy Delano, 80, of Denver has no plans to slow down anytime soon. She still drives to movies, plays and dinners out with friends. A retired elder care nurse who lives alone, she also knows that “when you reach a certain age, emergencies can happen fast.” So, when her son, Tom Rogers, talked to her about installing a remote monitoring system, she didn’t hesitate.

With motion sensors placed throughout the house, Rogers can see if his mom is moving around, if she’s sleeping (or not), if she forgot to lock the door and, based on a sophisticated algorithm that detects behavioral patterns, whether her activity level or eating habits have changed significantly, for instance.

“It gives both of us peace of mind, particularly as she ages and wants to live at home,” said Rogers, who lives near Washington, D.C., hundreds of miles away from her.

At $45-$60 a month (plus an upfront fee of $100 to $200), Alarm.com’s Wellness system is markedly less expensive than options such as hiring a home health aide to check on her or moving her into a retirement community. The average cost of nursing home care exceeds $95,000 a year, while assisted living and in-home care tops $45,000 annually, according to a 2017 Genworth Financial report.

The exorbitant costs of nursing home and assisted living care are driving sales—and innovation—in the technology market, said Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and author of “The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care.”

For many, the technology offers not just the tools they need to continue to live at home, but newfound confidence and connectedness with faraway family and friends.

Topol calls it “monitored independence,” and it is changing how older generations age in America. “People want to be autonomous, irrespective of age,” he said.

That was certainly the case for Carol Smith, 83, who lives in the Carlsbad by the Sea retirement community in Carlsbad, Calif., with her husband, Ray, 84. “I’m in a wheelchair, so I depend on my husband a lot,” she said.

The Smiths were introduced to the Amazon Echo last February through a pilot program for seniors. Carol is now able to control lights and the thermostat. She can ask Alexa to remind her to take medications, or to call her brother or even to call for help.

“It gives her a great deal of independence,” Ray said. “If for some reason I have to be away, she’s able to function on her own. It’s keeping her safe, but closely related to that, it’s allowing her to be independently safe.”

Voice-assistive technologies like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and HomePod are likely to play a bigger role in helping seniors age in place, especially when paired with apps geared specifically for senior living, predicts Majd Alwan, executive director of the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST). AskMarvee, for instance, integrates with Amazon Echo via an online portal to allow seniors to immediately connect with family members for a quick check-in or if something more serious is going on. (The Basic app is free; premium versions cost $15 or $20 per month.)

LifePod, to be introduced later this year, takes voice-assisted technology a step further, said Laurie Orlov, founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch. It will allow users to engage with the device, much like Alexa, but will also periodically check in with them independent of a voice prompt, at preprogrammed intervals: Good morning, Nancy. Did you remember to take your medication?


For Mike Willis, 63, of Guelph, Ontario, getting regular medication prompts means the difference between staying healthy and ending up in the hospital—again. Willis takes 27 pills a day, most of them anti-rejection drugs to ensure that his body doesn’t reject the heart transplant he received 2½ years ago after contracting viral myocarditis. To keep it all straight, he uses Medisafe, an app that reminds him when it’s time to take his next dose, whether to take the pills with water or food, and what side effects might be attributable to the medication.

“After my transplant, I was a little confused, so I designated my wife, Linda, as a ‘MedFriend,’ which meant she got an alert when I didn’t take my medication,” he said. (The app is free; the Premium version, with additional reminder and Medfriend features, costs $4.99 a month.)

Indeed, the ability to designate a loved one as a second set of eyes and ears can be comforting rather than intrusive, as Willis and Delano have discovered. And yet, there’s a fine line between technology that allows older adults to live independently, and technology that reinforces stereotypical images of aging as a slow decline toward death.

Until recently, Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)—made famous by the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” TV ads—was the only reliable technology to help older adults who had fallen, says David Lindeman, director of the Center for Technology and Aging at the University of California-Berkeley.

By the end of this month, MedHab, a Texas company best known for its wearable insoles for rehab patients, will begin shipping MyNotifi, a medical alert wristband designed to detect falls and send an alert to a family member or friend. “It looks like a watch, and Mom or Dad can invite anybody they want, family or friends, to get those alerts through the MyNotifi Fall Detection app,” said MedHab President and CEO Johnny Ross. (The device is available for preorder at $299.)

Similar fall detection technologies in various stages of testing include SafelyYou, which uses wall-mounted cameras and software algorithms to detect falls, and UnaliWear’s Kanega watch, which combines fall detection, voice-assisted emergency aid and medication reminders.

“If the goal is independent and connected living, we need solutions that are multifaceted and that connect people with their family, their doctors, their neighbors,” said Jody Holtzman, senior managing partner of Longevity Venture Advisors. “If the technology is framed in the context of fun and convenience, like Alexa, then people will start to buy these things.”

Carol Smith can’t imagine life without Alexa. When I read, “I just say, ‘Alexa, what does this word mean?’ Or I ask Alexa to play the song. Oh, and I’m a basketball fan, but if I can’t stay up late to watch the end of the game, I’ll ask Alexa what the score is the next morning. There are so many things you can ask her. She’s fun. And she’s always pleasant.”



This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News on February 28, 2018.
Read the original story here.

https://khn.org/news/new-technologies-help-seniors-age-in-place-and-not-feel-alone/

Chelsea's Recent Success Story: When forever takes a turn...

C_Father-Daughter-1024x668.png

When forever takes a turn...

About 7 months ago Maintain Me had the privilege of helping a senior in need of transition due to a bad placement. The gentleman was pretty social and had very little in common with the other residents and needed more social interaction. His amazing daughter was up for the challenge in finding him the best place. There was one thing that was truly challenging about this case. Mike was had recently gone blind and therefore his care needs were starting to increase due to this new change.

Maintain Me found a place for Mike that was small enough to keep him independent but also large enough to offer him more options for socialization. This was the perfect scenario as he was also limited on funds and was going to be able to spend down into a medicaid benefit. We were able to get Mike over to his new home and was excited about our decision. It wasn't until 7 months later that Mike started to have behaviors that was thought to be related to new diagnosis. This is when things really get tough as Mike was already 7 months into his spend down and now needed to find a place that could offer a higher level of care. Maintain Me was so happy to know that Mike's daughter trusted Maintain Me enough to give it another go as his options were extremely limited.

One thing that Maintain Me always focuses on is making sure people are not labeled by their behaviors or diagnoses. Mike deserved to be at a place that would help him through this new challenge and love him through the behaviors. 2 weeks later we were able to find a place just for him who had great ideas on how to do just that. Thank you Mike and a big thank you to your daughter for trusting us with your care and transition needs.


Chelsea Sweeney, RN
Owner, Maintain Me

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Replica in Arvada through this weekend

Vietnam-Wall.jpg

The Wall That Heals is a three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) in 1996 created the replica wall to travel to communities throughout the US. It displays the names of more than 58,000 service members who died in the Vietnam War.

The 375-foot long, 7.5-foot tall wall be open to public viewing 24 hours a day from Thursday, June 20 to Sunday, June 23 at 5 p.m. A mobile education museum will also be at the chapel.

"This traveling exhibit provides thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing The Wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin," said a statement from Faith Bible Chapel in a release.

Nearly 600 communities throughout the nation have displayed the wall, which is comprised of 140 numbered panels.

Faith Bible Chapel is located at 6250 Wright St. in Arvada.

For more information visit:
https://www.vvmf.org/The-Wall-That-Heals/


For local info:
https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/vietnam-veterans-memorial-wall-replica-arrives-in-arvada/73-31c5a3a3-4296-43d4-b326-562b9010f0c2


Check out our latest Review!

5 Star Review.JPG


We are so proud of our newest team member Julie. What amazing praise from her client on a successful transition. And many thanks to Judith for taking the time to write a review. Such kind words are invaluable!

Judith Review.JPG

Chelsea's Recent Success Story

o-OLD-COUPLE-HOLDING-HANDS-facebook.jpg

Thriving Together through the Aging Process

Gene and Joe* have moved a couple times before finding a place they felt comfortable calling home and right when they felt as if all things were settled, the storm hit. Gene was starting to decline and ended up in the hospital for a compression fracture in her back. Before this incident Joe was always her body, while Gene was Joe's brain. They functioned perfectly together. Joe had dementia but was fully functional and Gene always struggled with staying strong but was sharp as a tack. Together they compensated for one another and without one of them the entire thing falls apart. When Gene ended up in the hospital and then to rehab, Joe was being checked in on from their amazing children in hopes to soon get them back together. 

In these type of situations its very common for the senior who has gone from hospital to rehab that they may not return to their previous baseline and that is exactly what happened to Gene. Gene was requiring more care then what her home could provide being an independent living and while Gene was away Joe's dementia started to worsen as he was missing the person who kept his brain functioning to its highest potential. 

They both needed to move and yet had very different care needs. When Maintain Me worked on this case the struggle was finding a big enough space for the two of them as they were coming from a 2 bedroom apartment and yet still get them the personalized care they needed for an affordable rate. That's when we found Rocky Mountain. Rocky Mountain not only has all inclusive care and could gear each persons care plan to their individual needs without effecting cost but it also has a memory care attached in case Joe outlived Gene. Joe would need to have a more secure environment and if he needed it at an given moment now, Gene could walk to the next building to visit. 

This couple was such an amazing couple and I am so happy to help them find a forever home with the help of their amazing children. In this case we knew that staying together equaled success for this couple as that is all they have ever known!

Thank you Gene, Joe and their two lovely children for allowing us to be part of this journey. A big shout out to Lutheran case management team for getting us connected with this family to help them to the level they truly needed!


Chelsea Sweeney, RN
Owner, Maintain Me

Why Costa Rica Is One Of The Happiest Countries In The World

Francisco Gomez turned 100 in April. Photographed at his house in Nicoya, Guancaste, Costa Rica.

Francisco Gomez turned 100 in April. Photographed at his house in Nicoya, Guancaste, Costa Rica.

This article from the HuffPost visits the countryside of Costa Rica to find out why “Costa Rica tells us that there is something beyond money that is important.”

Every Sunday, when his health allows, 100-year-old Francisco Gómez gets a ride from his daughter to the outskirts of town, where he spends the day at a community center dancing. 

Gómez, a farmer and rancher on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, grew up listening to ranch-style music, but said he didn’t really learn to dance until he started attending these weekly gatherings for the elderly and their caretakers. He says the dances have given him something to look forward to since the death of his wife earlier this year. 

“I’m much happier,” he told HuffPost. “It gives me something to do other than sit around all day.”

The dances are just one of the activities coordinated by Progressive Attention Network for Integral Elder Care, a program created by the country’s Health Ministry in 2010 to help elderly people stay active and socially engaged. Though the network spans Costa Rica, it is particularly robust on Nicoya, a peninsula on the country’s Pacific coast that is among five world regions known as blue zones, where people live the longest. 

The reasons for Nicoyans’ longevity are not fully understood, but researchers from National Geographic identified high levels of spirituality, a strong cultural base and close social relationships as ingredients in the peninsula’s recipe for a long life. Dr. Zinnia Cordero, director of the Health Ministry in Nicoya, said programs like the care network allow the ministry to help foster these less-tangible health benefits among the area’s elderly population.

“It’s about helping people maintain the desire to keep living,” Cordero said. “Protecting these health factors isn’t only a priority of individuals, it’s a priority of the government.”

The well-being of seniors is now seen as so important that newly elected Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado declared the betterment of the lives of the elderly as a political priority. Last month, during a tour of Nicoya, Alvarado met with Gómez and 14 other older Nicoyans to discuss how the government can do more to improve their lives.

Alvarado, who took office in May, comes from a long line of Costa Rican leaders who have made the well-being of citizens a government imperative. Since the mid-20th century, Costa Rica has had public health care to which all Costa Ricans have access, along with free and compulsory primary and secondary education. It is the only country in Central America where 100 percent of the population has access to electricity.

This government strategy seems to have paid off, and Costa Rica continuously ranks as one of the happiest places on earth. In the 2018 Gallup World Poll ― a standard for measuring self-reported happiness ― people all over the world were asked to rank their life satisfaction from 0 to 10. Costa Rica’s average score was 7.07 ― 13th in the world and the highest in Latin America. 

The countries at the top of the happiness scale are relatively wealthy; Costa Rica is a notable exception. It has the highest levels of self-reported well-being of any middle-income country, and carries more happiness per GDP dollar. The country’s GDP per capita is $11,630, compared with $59,531 in the U.S., which lags behind Costa Rica in happiness.  

“Costa Rica tells us that there is something beyond money that is important,” said Mariano Rojas, a happiness expert from Costa Rica and an economics professor at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute. “There is a difference between the quantity of money you have and the way you use it. There is a way to spend money that contributes to the happiness of the people.” 

In 1948, Costa Rica abolished its military, rededicating its defense budget to education, health and pensions. Even as new administrations have come and gone, this basic budgeting tenet has remained intact. In 2016, Costa Rica spent more on education as a proportion of GDP than any country except one, according to data from the World Bank.  

The country has a life expectancy of 81, according to the Costa Rican Health Ministry (The World Health Organization put it at around 79.6 in 2016). This is higher than some wealthy countries such as the U.S., for example, which has a life expectancy of 78.6 and has seen a decline over the last two years. 

“Our high life expectancy is a reflection of the decisions we’ve made as a country,” Cordero said. “Through our social security administration, we were able to strengthen health care for our entire population, regardless of their social or economic condition.” 

Costa Ricans in even the most rural parts of the country have access to preventive and emergency care through an extensive system of health clinics. Because even the poorest Costa Ricans can access these primary care clinics, one 2016 study found that Costa Ricans lower on the socioeconomic scale had a significantly lower mortality rate than people of similar status in the U.S.  

Though Costa Rica has a high level of wealth inequality, universal access to social services means that Costa Ricans tend not to experience unequal treatment in other areas of their lives, especially health care. 

“The money you have does not make a difference in how people treat you,” Rojas said. “This is interesting because it implies that there is no status race like in other countries, where you may need to buy a larger house or a nicer car in order to gain status.”  

Instead, Costa Ricans put more value on personal relationships than almost any other culture, Rojas said. Costa Ricans tend to spend more time with their families than people in other countries, she said, and in the Gallup World Poll, more than 85 percent of Costa Ricans reported feeling love and affection every day.  

But not every aspect of happiness can be measured. Many Costa Ricans use the phrase pura vida to talk about what makes life so satisfying. The idiom literally translates to pure life, but refers to the laid-back and peaceful lifestyle that Costa Rica has become known for.

When asked what about the senior dances is so gratifying, Gómez laughs, then answered: “Es muy ‘pura vida.’”

The link to this article:
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/costa-rica-happiness-well-being_n_5b6184a8e4b0de86f49c7611

Entertain and Engage Seniors with Books on Tape

KENDAL_2.jpg

In a tech driven world Daily Caring shares a simple idea, books on tape. 

Audio books make reading accessible to everyone, including seniors with low vision or limited physical ability.  It’s a fun way to spend time and doesn’t require much energy. And an imaginative story, historical tale, or exciting mystery can transport them to another world. 

Reading also benefits older adults in other ways. It can improve memory, sharpen decision-making skills, reduce stress, improve sleep, and delay cognitive decline. 
 

Because eyesight naturally declines with age, seniors may find it tiring to read on their own. Some people could have impaired vision or be unable to hold a physical book. Plus, many people simply enjoy being read to. A great solution is to use books on tape, also called audio books. These are books that are read out loud, typically by a professional “reader.”

Aside from the books themselves, all that’s needed is a CD player or a simple MP3 player to play the audio files.

 

3 ways to get books on tape (2 are free!)

 

1. Free books on tape from the public library

Local public libraries now lend books on tape or CD, just like other library materials.

Talk with a librarian to find out how to borrow books on tape from the library. Many libraries also participate in online services that make it easy to download audio books in MP3 format.

If your older adult is vision impaired, they may also be eligible for the National Library Service’s free braille and talking book library service.

 

2. Free books online on LibriVox
LibriVox is a free service that makes public domain books (books with expired copyright) available in an audio format. The recordings are made by non-professional speakers and the service is run by volunteers.

You may need to search a bit, but there are plenty of classics and hidden gems available.

 

3. Buy audio books through Audible or Audiobooks
For the latest bestsellers or books you can’t find at the library or LibriVox, buying audio books is the way to go.

Two big companies that sell audio books are Audible (an Amazon company) and Audiobooks.com. The books are downloaded to and played from apps on computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Each service offers a free 30-day trial that lets you download 2 books for free. That gives you a chance to test out the services before you commit.

After the free trial period, both Audible and Audiobooks charge a monthly subscription fee that includes one book per month. Additional books cost extra.
 

 

Link to Daily Caring Article:
https://dailycaring.com/stimulate-senior-minds-with-books-on-tape/?utm_source=DailyCaring&utm_campaign=5b95a3f082-DC_Email_2019-06-05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_57c250b62e-5b95a3f082-123200633
 

Kristi's next Adventure

20180321_093636_1.jpg

Maintain Me is sad to announce the our amazing social worker Kristi is off to see new adventures in Seattle.

We would like to take a second to celebrate the time we had with Kristi and all the wonderful successes she had! Her dedication has made a huge impact on the south Denver community. Kristi has served over 30 families giving 110% of her heart and skill as a social worker with Maintain Me.

She always was helpful regardless of the families situation or means and never shied away from a difficult case. Kristi you have made such a difference with Maintain Me and we are so lucky to have had you on our team. You will be missed dearly and we cannot wait to hear about all that you accomplish your next endeavors. We know that wherever you are, your personality will shine and make a difference!

Kristi.JPG

Do you know someone who needs help with Hoarding?

senior-resource-center.png

Seniors' Resource Center still has funding through DRCOG to support individuals in need of excessive clutter clean-up.

Funding will be available for individuals 60 years and older who live in Adams, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, and Jefferson counties. We will be prioritizing individuals who are facing eviction or imminent safety concerns and are at a level 2 or greater on the clutter image rating scale. Please find the clutter image rating scales below.

Referrals can be made by calling 303-235-6952 

Please let me know if you have any additional questions! 
Heather Brozek, LCSW | Director of Community Services
Seniors’ Resource Center
3227 Chase Street | Denver, CO 80212
Direct 303.235.6945 | Main 303.238.8151
hbrozek@SRCaging.org www.SRCaging.org
 

Clutter Image Rating Scale-page-001.jpg


Hidden Treasures

opener1106hoarding[1].jpg

“My aunt didn’t have anything. Don’t bother sorting her place. Just junk everything!”

Adam insisted when he hired a hoarding remediation professional to clean out his Aunt’s hoarded home after her death. Understanding the psychology of hoarding and how hoarders conceal their true situation from family and friends is very important. Cleaning up a hoarded home needs to be done with the same urgency and diligence whether or not the homeowner is present. Since we are hoarding remediation professionals, we didn’t just “junk everything” in her home.

Professionals who specialize in cleaning up hoarded homes take a comprehensive approach to projects. It is not about trashing everything in a home. When working with a homeowner, hoarding remediation professionals understand the need for:
 

  • Pre-work to understand how the client got to this point

  • Motivation to help them get through the overwhelming work of sorting and making decisions

  • The cleanup to sort, organize, or remove (whether it be to donate, sell, recycle, shred, or trash)

  • Restoration of the home to a safe and functional space, this often includes removal of dangerous rodent droppings and disinfection.


When helping a hoarder whether or not they are involved in the cleanup, hire a company who understands that hoarding is a mental illness to get the best result. When a hoarder is alive, they know where the valuable items are in the home. Once they are gone no one may know where to find hidden items. By understanding the mental state of a hoarder, cleanup professionals will be even more diligent when completing the sorting process and will increase the odds of finding items that may be hidden in the home.

In Adam’s case, it was truly a treasure hunt and he was astonished by the outcome. The final tally of money was over $11,000. There were also several life insurance policies, collectible coins and silver along with boxes of family heirlooms and pictures which are priceless.

As a hoarding remediation professional, we work hard to respect our clients circumstances and decisions as we move forward with the cleanup process and take great pride in knowing we are able to protect a family’s estate and legacy.

Steri-Clean is a national franchise with over 20 years of experience. Steri-Clean Colorado is locally owned by Andrew and Annemarie Roberts. Steri-Clean Colorado provides personal service, detailed plans for clean-up including saving items of sentimental or financial value, and a network of specialists to provide after-care and support. If you need help or know someone who does, call 1-800-462-7337 or visit https://www.colorado.steri-clean.com/ for a free consultation and estimate.


This was originally featured at this link:
https://www.myprimetimenews.com/hidden-treasures/

Lessons on Living From My 106-Year-Old Aunt Doris

Aunt Doris on her 106th birthday.

Aunt Doris on her 106th birthday.

NY Times author Barry Eisenberg tells of his experience having his Aunt Doris spend her final year of life in his home. 

It's a beautiful story that highlights so many different facets of what people experience when they share their family members end of life journey. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Lessons on Living From My 106-Year-Old Aunt Doris
Love, meaningfulness and the power of connection don’t stop just because we get old.
By Barry Eisenberg
May 22, 2019

My Aunt Doris recently passed away, exactly two weeks before her birthday. She would have been 107.

I have been involved in health care for my entire professional life, as a hospital executive, consultant and professor of health care management. But the time spent with my aunt at the end of her life taught me more about living and dying than all my experience had prepared me for.

Doris lived in the same Manhattan apartment for seven decades. For years, she had stubbornly resisted moving into a relative’s home or assisted living community. When she was 103, she had a fall that landed her in the hospital, after which she agreed, reluctantly, to hire a live-in aide.

The aide was caring and capable, but over the next two years, Doris became exceedingly feeble and bedridden, her mind confused. Her breathing grew labored and her voice was practically inaudible when she told my wife, Amy, and me that she didn’t want to die with a “stranger,” whom we took to mean the aide.

When Amy said, “Doris, we would love for you to come live with us,” Doris, uncharacteristically, began to cry. With a look of gratitude, she whispered, “You would take me in?”

Doris seemed moments away from death, and we wanted to honor her wish to be with family. It felt simple, naïvely so in retrospect, uncomplicated by the implications of an open-ended period of caregiving.

Her doctor felt that time was of the essence. With the help of a local home hospice agency, we readied our guest room and arranged for Doris to be transported to our New Jersey home.

As the ambulette crew delicately shifted a fragile Doris from her bed onto a stretcher, she appeared more a collection of bones than a person. Would she even survive this trip? She was nearly unresponsive, her eyes vacant. I held her frail hand, hoping she wasn’t frightened.

At our house, she lay nearly motionless in the hospital bed provided by the hospice agency. We began the vigil we were certain would not last long.

We hung some family photos that we had taken from Doris’s apartment on the wall next to her bed and sat at her bedside, describing each one. A photo from the 1940s showed Doris in a dark high-buttoned dress with pronounced shoulder pads, a look she called “handsome.” In another, from the 1960s, she was on a palm-tree-lined beach in California, posing happily with a few cousins. There was little sign that our story-telling was penetrating, but we persevered, hoping to spark familiar memories, like the Third Avenue Hudson Place waffle fries she loved and the 1940s maritime décor that caught her eye.

Doris stirred a bit over the next few days, her eyes becoming a little more focused. Then something of a miracle happened: Doris began a slow but steady journey back to her old self. Over the next few weeks, her cognition was almost fully restored. She began to feed herself and, with help, use the commode instead of the diapers she hated.

As winter gave way to spring, Doris sat in her wheelchair on our backyard deck. Her vision was weak, but she could make out the trees and see birds fluttering about. We had lengthy talks about her life. She was most animated when talking about her childhood. The eldest of four, Doris was born in Poland where she and her mother — my grandmother — remained while her father came to the United States in search of work and opportunity. They joined him in the United States when Doris was 7.

Doris entered the work world right out of high school. She was industrious and ambitious, eventually becoming an executive in a finance company. She never married, pouring herself into her work. When she retired at 91, she looked for volunteer work, becoming a docent at the New York Public Library.

Doris and I had formed a friendship years ago, when I became a young adult. Later, our children also developed close relationships with her, admiring her strength of character and feminist perspective that was shaped in the 1940s when she joined her company’s exclusively male executive ranks. She inspired us all, recounting how she walked everywhere in New York City: to her job, her volunteer work, the opera at the Met.

 

Now, living with us, Doris was determined to regain her strength and walk independently again. She returned to the exercise regimen she had been doing for years, mostly leg lifts, stretches and self-massages. Soon, Doris was able to raise herself out of her wheelchair and walk with the aid of a walker. She had a disciplined routine, counting her steps and charting her progress. Then she would sit back in her wheelchair and gaze at the trees in the backyard. She giggled when the dog licked her ice cream cone and her face. She delighted in the reawakening of her senses, asking to smell the newly blossoming lilacs.

Doris’s intellectual curiosity blossomed as well. We sat on the deck and talked every day. When the weather turned cold, our conversations moved indoors. She kept up with politics and her investments. A small circle of relatives who had visited her in New York came to visit her in New Jersey.

At one point she looked at Amy and me and said, “I never knew life could be so beautiful.”

After 17 months with us, Doris’s cognition again began to fade. I would initiate a discussion about my father — her brother — with whom she always had a special bond. He had passed away 15 years earlier. She stared at me blankly, conceding she did not know who I was talking about.

I then remembered an anecdote she had once told me and I shared it with her: When my father was a newborn, Doris rocked him in her arms while their mother was busy with household chores. “Oh, George, of course, my baby brother,” she said with a pleased grin, recalling a memory that was almost a hundred years old.


It often took a while to find the right trigger, the portal into a memory clouded by age and confusion. But once there, her mental wherewithal returned in full form. It remains a great challenge for caretakers, helping our elderly loved ones experience life that, no matter the constraints and limitations, no matter the place they live, is purposeful and enriching. We have a richer vocabulary for talking with our aging relatives about their health than about their dreams. And yet, what I discovered is that Doris thrived when she could make choices about how to spend her time, maintain control over her life story, and feel that those around her respected whatever autonomy she was capable of exercising.

In “Being Mortal,” Dr. Atul Gawande reminds us that meaningfulness is central to what we yearn for, and this doesn’t stop just because we get old. I came to appreciate that meaningfulness involved dignifying Doris’s desires, feelings, memories and even aspirations. In the journal The Gerontologist, Melanie Mallers and colleagues summarize research indicating that “lack of choice and self-determination can lead to poor physical fitness, decreased social support, and depression.” The will to go on can weaken when one feels stripped of empowerment in decisions made about one’s own life.

Among the more valuable lessons I learned is that actualization is feasible for a person of even significantly advanced age. A story Doris repeatedly told me in her last few months opened my eyes to this point. It was about a vacation Doris and her mother took in the 1950s. The motel housekeeper entered their room and appeared ill. My grandmother asked why she hadn’t stayed home. She replied that she needed the money. After insisting that the housekeeper lie down in her bed, my grandmother cleaned all the rooms assigned to the housekeeper.

This story was important to Doris because she revered her mother’s altruistic nature. But it also gnawed at her, fostering lingering self-doubt. Doris saw herself as incapable of exercising kindness in the manner of her mother. Although she was generous with time, advice and financial support, she could be brusque. She lacked confidence in the softer ways we reach others, through touch and expressions of warmth. As much as the story helped Doris celebrate her mother’s memory, it was a troubling reminder that she might have fallen short.

So we talked about generosity, about what giving looks like. It comes in many forms, hers just as valued as any other. In the end, she became gracious in ways I never thought possible. She talked about family as being something to cherish, to nurture. She initiated hugs rather than stiffening through them. Her final words, as she passed from life to death, a transition of merciful seamlessness, were “thank you.”

Amy and I thought that Doris would be living with us for a very short time, and we had invited her to stay with us thinking we could lend comfort to her in her final moments. But it transformed into something none of us anticipated, bringing new meaning to her life, even at 106.

 

 

Link to original NYTimes article:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/well/family/lessons-on-living-from-my-106-year-old-aunt-doris.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FElderly&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=collection