Three-day Senior “Summer” Camp


Do you have what it takes to build a colorful tangram?

Have you ever swung a blacksmith’s hammer?

When is the last time you shaped something with clay?


You’ll learn all these skills and more from experienced tradespeople at three Golden cultural organizations: Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Foothills Art Center, and Golden History Museum & Park. Come relive the days of your youth at summer camp (even if you never went) and experience these rare arts and unusual crafts from local masters.

Sept 24-26th 
$160 – $200

Day One, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019
Meet at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. Program starts at 10 a.m. Please bring your lunch as there will be a lunch break from 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

200 Violet St #140, Golden, CO 80401

Day Two, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019
Meet at Foothills Art Center. Program starts at 10 a.m. Please bring your lunch as there will be a lunch break from 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

809 15th St, Golden, CO 80401

Day Three, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019
Meet at Golden History Museum. Program starts at 12 p.m. Please bring your lunch as there will be a lunch break from 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

To commemorate your days at camp, please invite your family or friends to join us for a closing party at Golden History Museum. Light refreshments will be served.

12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. for class; 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. for closing party

923 10th St., Golden, CO 80401

Buy tickets or learn more:

Pikes Peak Library District Senior Connection


Along with the usual large print books, books on CDs, DVDs including closed-captioned materials, Electronic magnification devices for the vision impaired, the local Colorado Springs libraries have a wide selection of monthly activities for seniors. 

From movie nights, to computer classes and book clubs. Yarn-Tastic, needlecraft group, Monday morning movie, senior chats, lunch and a movie, Socrates Café and much more.

Library Locations
Cheyenne Mountain Library (CH) 
East Library (EA)
Fountain Library (FO)
High Prairie Library (HI)
Library 21c (LI)
Manitou Springs Library (MA)
Mobile Library Services (MLS)
Monument Library (MO)
Old Colorado City Library (OL)
Palmer Lake Library (PA)
Penrose Library (PE)
Rockrimmon Library (RO)
Ruth Holley Library (RU)
Sand Creek Library (SA)
Ute Pass Library (UT)

Find a location near you:

Check out their calendar of upcoming events:

5 of the Best Mobile Apps for Caregiver Stress Relief


Daily Caring shares some great mobile apps that can help cope with Caregiver stress.

We aren’t born knowing how to handle the tough situations and emotions that come with caring for an older adult. Daily challenges plus strong emotions like anger, sadness, resentment, or depression raise stress levels and worsen overall health.

A convenient way to get fast caregiver stress relief is to use supportive mobile apps. They’re always at your fingertips and can be used any time of day. We found a huge list of mental health resources at Greatist that covers a wide variety of topics.

We chose the 5 mobile apps that are the most helpful for reducing caregiver stress, managing frustration, and reducing anxiety. And, they’re all free.

1. Breathe2Relax
Focused breathing has been proven to reduce stress. Developed under the Department of Defense to help returning veterans, this app teaches users how to do diaphragmatic breathing.

Features include customizable guided breathing sessions, educational videos on the stress response, and logs to record stress levels. (Free; iOS and Android)

2. Happify
Want to kick negative thoughts, reduce worry, and dial down stress? The array of engaging games, activity suggestions, and gratitude prompts makes Happify a useful shortcut to a good mood.

Designed with input from 18 health and happiness experts, Happify’s positive mood-training program is psychologist approved. Its website also links to bonus videos that are sure to make you smile. (Free; iOS and Android)

3. SAM (Self-help for Anxiety Management)
How do you know what’s pushing you over the edge and how to reel yourself back in?

SAM’s approach is to monitor anxious thoughts, track behavior over time, and use guided self-help exercises to keep stress at bay. You can also confidentially talk with an online community for added support. (Free; iOS and Android)

4. Companion
Releasing negative thoughts, practicing relaxation techniques, and engaging in mindful awareness is good for well-being.

This app makes that easier to do by guiding you through proven techniques that reduce negative thoughts and emotions as well as help you develop a more present mindset. (Free; iOS and Android)

5. Depression CBT Self-Help Guide
Need help managing the blues? This app has guided relaxation techniques, and get strategies to challenge negative thinking, tracks dips in your mood, helps you learn about clinical depression and treatments. (Free; Android)

 Link to Daily Caring article:


Age of fraud: Are seniors more vulnerable to financial scams?


Age Related Financial Vulnerability.

You hear Scam or Fraud all the time but this term really caught our attention. Age Related Financial Vulnerability. People of any age feel frustration, anger and even shame when caught up in a "Scam" but the following article sites research that indicates as people age, even with no cognitive impairment, they tend to more susceptible to being lured into predatory situations and financial exploitation.

Age of fraud:

Are seniors more vulnerable to financial scams?

By David Brancaccio, Marketplace May 19, 2019
***Link to Audio file at bottom of page***

Judy Fern is 79 but reads as 15 years younger. She hops the high step into her Honda CR-V, hits the button for public radio (not just for my sake) and expertly pilots through the streets of her seaside town.

The plan is to visit one of the scenes of the crime, the gift card rack at Walmart in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.

Department store gift cards are a favorite money transfer device of fraudsters. Over a two-week period, just after Thanksgiving 2017, Fern got caught in an elaborate scam that cost her close to $200,000. That is a fortune to most of us, and it was a fortune for Fern.

Fern is a registered nurse, skilled in the operating room. Well into what most would consider their retirement years, she acts as a fill-in nurse for several public school districts. She goes to Pilates once or twice a week.

“I look back and I can’t imagine what I was thinking,” Fern said. “I was like a robot.”

“I just knew I had to go to Walmart, knew what kind of cards he wanted me to get, get into the car, tear off the back, give him the numbers,” Fern recalled.

Not only are older people heavily targeted by scammers, but surprising data suggest that, as we get older, we become more vulnerable to fraud in so many of its forms.

The part that especially floored me is this: Doctors are studying older people who are on the ball, A-OK. People who — when tested — seem to have no diagnosable cognitive impairment, but who may still be at special risk from those who want to take their money, be it strangers or family.

There is brain research about this. In some cases, it’s like a person’s radar for scams goes dark.

According to a 2016 study, people 50 and older hold 83% of the wealth in America; households headed by people in their 70s and 80s tend to have the highest median net worth. That makes them prime targets for financial scams and the effects can be devastating.

With an aging population this is an elder justice issue, a personal finance issue and a public policy issue. It’s hard to pin down the numbers: A study out of New York state estimates as few as one in 44 cases are ever reported, and studies have calculated that older people lose anywhere from $2.9 billion to $36 billion each year from financial exploitation.

Fern’s nightmare began with a phone call from someone claiming to be from computer tech support who said he needed to get into her computer to fix something. It spiraled from there.

According to Fern, the scammer who took control of her computer directed her attention to what looked like a readout from one of her accounts at US Bank. The account should have had $29,819. She freaked out when it appeared the account had been drained to nothing.

Fern was led to believe if she gave the caller even more money, she would get all of it back. Her life then became an odyssey out of Greek tragedy.

She said the scammer ordered her to not just Walmart but also Target, resulting in more than two dozen trips over two weeks to buy gift cards and to turn the value of the cards over to him by phone.

“I was driving, clenching the wheel. I’m so mad, I couldn’t figure out as I thought about it, if I’m mad at him or mad at me? No kidding,” Fern said. “I mean, why am I out here on this freaking road again? Driving all the way out to Walmart.”

Back in Fern’s kitchen, we laid out all the used cards, piles and piles of them, covering every available spot on a small table. In all, there were more than 100 used Target and Walmart gift cards, some decorated with pretty pink flowers or cute cartoon penguins or, as it was the holidays, Santa Claus.

She kept the receipts. My total: $165,970. And that’s not all. The scammer also talked Fern into two bank transfers, including $45,000 to a company in Nepal. It could have been worse, but one of her credit card companies reversed nearly $25,000, agreeing it was fraud.

By my calculation, Fern lost something close to $196,000. All this was paid for through savings, retirement money and running up credit cards, with the scammer repeatedly getting her to call and raise her credit limit. When she pushed back, Fern said, the guy started threatening her family.

Eventually, she said, her tormentor showed her, on her computer, the image of a $200,000 check written out in her name, promised to her if she gave him more money still. Fern said she could see it was fraudulent.

“I could tell, because the comma was in the wrong place. It was not right.”At this point, she was done and cut off communication, her accounts ravaged.

Maybe this could happen to any of us at any age. But it’s possible there is also something else at work with some older scam victims.

Changes to the brain
“The most frustrating people, in my science and in my clinical practice, are people who test, up and down, neuropsychologically normal,” said Mark Lachs, a physician at Weill-Cornell Medicine in New York, one of New York City’s biggest hospitals.

“I mean, they’ve had the million-dollar neurologic workup and yet they still give away the farm in ways that they would not have when they were younger.”

Lachs and his colleagues have put a label on what they see as an all-too common condition: “age-associated financial vulnerability.”

“We are learning that there are changes in the aging brain, even in the absence of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative illnesses, that may render older adults vulnerable to financial exploitation.”

There is neuroscience and psychological data to suggest our ability to detect sketchy situations may decline. Or, we may become prone to seeing the upside of a risky deal and blow off the downside. Some people are more inclined to believe the last person they spoke to. Others may lose the ability to push back on a high-pressure predator. Researchers emphasize that this phenomenon goes way beyond changes in the brain.

“It also involves all of these other social and environmental factors like social isolation, like cultural factors and societal factors, like older adults having more wealth compared to younger generations,” said Marti DeLiema, a research scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Take that first point, social isolation. Older people, as a group, are more likely to live alone. Fern’s husband Bob had died in a plane crash 12 years earlier and her daughter, who had lived nearby, had died of cancer. Without a strong local support system around to act as a second set of eyes and ears, people can be lured into financial traps.

But scientists looking into age-related financial vulnerability are very interested in physical changes to the aging brain, the way eyesight and hearing can get less keen. In some cases, a new pattern of making mistakes with money may be a harbinger of cognitive bad things to come, the “first thing to go,” as it were.

McGill University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng was able to track down 13 elderly scam victims and 13 others equivalent in age, gender, and education who had successfully fended off a scam. Spreng’s research found the brains of the two groups were physically different.

“When we looked at the structural integrity of their brain, we identified one region in particular that was significantly smaller in those individuals who had been scammed than those who had not,” Spreng said.

He noticed this thinning of the part of the brain called the “insula,” which, along with a lot of other things, may help us trigger our “spidey sense,” the hunch that can warn us away from dicey financial situations.

“It gives you this ‘body sense’ of the perceptions of the environment that something’s not quite right and it’s a signal that all of us in life kind of need to learn how to listen to. In the case of aging, that signal is just not as loud,” said Spreng, who is still in the early stages of the research.

Some experts are skeptical about practical applications of research like Spreng’s.

Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in Michigan, is not a neuroscientist but a psychologist who studies financial decision-making capacity. While he sees the brain scanning as promising, his experience tells him financial acumen and scam-spotting are really complex matters.

“There is no one aging pattern,” Lichtenberg said. “You know, some older adults are as good as they were in their fifties and sixties. Others are showing a more significant decline.”

In an award-winning paper published by the Brookings Institution, researchers identified a peak age for handling money matters: on average, 53 years old. That astonishing number personally gave me pause now that I am past that summit and, according to that finding, hiking the downward slope myself.

People of all ages get taken by scams, not just seniors. And Dr. Spreng at McGill notes that many older people can have an edge over their younger selves, an antidote to what we’ve been talking about. You might call it wisdom.

But while this kind of life experience counts, even non-scientists, including social workers and lawyers, have long wrestled with the broader problem. Shannon Miller, an attorney based in Gainesville, Florida, says she sees it all the time in her practice: a subset of older people who are not legally considered incapacitated are, nonetheless, extra vulnerable.

“What is it that makes one person exploitable and another person not?” Miller asks. “It’s like a perfect storm, really, when we’re talking about these vulnerable people who have enough capacity that they’re not necessarily going to be on anybody’s radar, like their doctor.”

Safeguarding people is especially complicated because taking away rights based on age, but not necessarily competence, has a name: ageism.

Lawyer and elder rights advocate Marie-Therese Connolly is working on a book about elder abuse to be called “Aging Dangerously”, and worked closely on the drafting and passage, in 2010, of the Elder Justice Act.

“It’s so pervasive and it raises just such complicated ethical and philosophical dilemmas about what we want our old age to look like, and to what extent should we be entitled to make bad decisions,” Connolly said.

She finds the “age-associated financial vulnerability” label a useful idea, but she wonders if they got the name wrong.

“I’d rather just call it financial vulnerability,” she said.

I wondered if it would really be discriminatory if — for instance — credit card companies tweaked their fraud protection superpowers to better watch over the accounts of older people in particular. Connolly’s response?

“Why only older people?” Protect people of all ages, is her point.

Defense mechanisms
Safeguards against financial fraud take the shape of a state-by-state patchwork and, too often, once the money is gone, it is gone for good. Many advocates are pushing for better defenses.

A new federal law, the 2017 Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, appointed what are called “elder justice coordinators” at U.S. Justice Department offices around the country.

That 2018 law also encourages different regulators, law enforcement jurisdictions, and protectors of older people to share info about exploitation, teaching both potential victims and officials about warning signs of predators, hopefully before the abuse happens.

Wall Street’s self-regulatory body, FINRA, recently told stock brokers to encourage customers to list the name of a trusted person to contact if something signals “scam.” Banks have no such rule.

In Florida, a new legal tool makes it much easier for the state’s vulnerable older victims to file paperwork — in the absence of an attorney — to quickly freeze their scammed money without notifying the scammer, a kind of “pause button.”

Where else can people turn? Local and federal law enforcement, which can convey fraud complaints to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network. Victims who get scammed specifically online can report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaints Center, IC3.

Catching fraudsters is no easy feat, though millions of victims complain. I met with one family that was able to win a partial restitution after a con woman persuaded a dad in his 90s that she was his “special friend” and in need of money for treatment for “cancer.” The victim’s kids worked on this for many months, one a law school professor, the other a former prosecutor.

Busts are not common, nor is getting money back. The feds pulled off several elder fraud sweeps in the last two years: the two biggest pulled in more than 500 defendants.

In one high-profile conviction this year, a scammer from Jamaica was sentenced to nearly seven years in the US for trying to swindle a guy in his 90s. It started with promises of fake sweepstakes winnings, which turned to violent threats. He picked the wrong potential victim: William Webster, the former head of the FBI and the CIA, who had friends in high places who could help.

Elder rights advocates say protections remain inadequate. Even with that fresh federal law to help protect seniors, experts say there is still not sufficient rigorous research on what strategies work best to inoculate people from potential fraud. This at a time when the population is aging: the number of people 65 and older will nearly double in 30 years, to one out of five in the U.S. As the U.S. population of older people expands scammers are getting more technologically sophisticated.

Over the last six months, I sat with families grappling with scammers. I spent time with a son in his 20s living at home as he finishes college, trying to cope after he saw emails showing his mother had been sending an online love interest she’s never met about $100,000. The son says the emailer has always been a no-show for any in-person meeting with his mom.

Near St. Louis, I met with Art Schreiber, who moved in with his son’s family after his spouse died. Art is in his 80s, an army veteran who had a career fighting financial fraud, rising for a time to be the top insurance fraud regulator in Missouri.

His son, Chad, shared a home office with his dad, where he repeatedly had to intervene to stop people trying to pick his dad’s pocket via phone, snail mail and email.  Chad now has his father Art’s consent to make financial decisions on his behalf, power of attorney. The Schreibers, mindful of their father’s need for independence, regard this as a step not to be taken lightly.

It’s not just strangers stealing from seniors. One study found that nearly 58% of the perpetrators of financial exploitation of the elderly are people victims could see in their family photo albums: perpetrators who are relatives.

Solving the problem
Meanwhile, scammers are still targeting Judy Fern in New Jersey.

Late last year, about a year after the scam that cost her $200,000, I was recording a follow-up interview at Fern’s tidy home near the Jersey Shore. Her phone kept warbling with some guy with a filtered-sounding voice insisting she’d won millions in a jackpot if she paid some upfront fee.

He’d left 15 messages offering $2 million but, while I was there, this live voice upped the amount to $2.2 million. Where did the extra money come from, Fern asked him. The caller claimed her winnings had accrued “interest” after being deposited temporary in the “Federal Reserve Bank of Washington, D.C.” More baloney, Fern concluded, and called the cops.

When I checked in again with her this spring, a fresh set of scammers were trying to shake her down. Prosecutors say once someone’s been scammed, the fraudsters often put their contact info on a list they pass around.

This time, Fern seemed to be on the fence about whether she had actually won something or not and told me she had given them money. I was able to alert her sister, two states away, who got Fern, reluctantly, to sign a power of attorney to help the family help her.

Experts say these are conversations to have before a financial or health crisis hits. There is something called “limited guardianship,” where a judge grants only specified powers to a trusted person. There is the “springing” power of attorney that can be set up in advance that springs into action when someone’s cognitive abilities decline past a certain predetermined threshold.

The advice from the Stanford Longevity Center’s Marti DeLiema is to set up a financial plan for the future. Who will become a person’s designated driver for money matters if and when that becomes necessary?

These are hard conversations to have. People worry their family members might have conflicts of interest, or abuse their powers of guardianship. One fraud victim I talked to said when she turned to her son for help he got angry, suggesting that it was his money she had lost, part of his inheritance.

Dr. Lichtenberg, the Wayne State psychologist who studies capacity for financial decision-making, says he has data showing 20% of older people admit when they do talk about money with others, it’s out of loneliness. That is, people might engage with a scammer because they want to talk to someone, anyone.

One gerontologist put it to me this way: abuse of the elderly is, at its core, lack of social support. The cure is social support. It’s possible that the best way to help vulnerable loved ones is just to be there, to be present in their lives.

For a link to this article as well as the audio file please visit:

Check out a Denver Senior Center near you!


Denver Senior Centers offer a variety of programs and services to help senior citizens maintain their independence and vitality and provide a place for seniors to have the opportunity to meet other seniors through social interaction. 

Senior Centers serve a purpose - that is to help keep persons over the age of 55 active both mentally and physically. Since staying active is the key to healthy aging, having a senior center available allows you the opportunity to stay active. The programs, classes and activities for Senior Centers offer can also raise your quality of life and be very fun and enjoyable. Most programs are free, but some may have a small fee. If you’ve never looked into the programs and services offered at Senior Centers, you don't know what you're missing. Learn what senior activities may be offered at your Senior Activity Center and give them a try!

Senior Centers typically have a large dining room, a fitness center with workout equipment, computer stations, a library, an activity room used for exercise classes and activities, conference rooms for club meetings, a billiards room, games and crafts, and more. Many of these rooms can be rented for private use.

Some Senior Centers are located on the grounds of a Parks & Recreation complex and have access to trails, ball fields, park pavilions, outdoor grills, and other programs offered under the Parks & Recreation program. 

Many Senior Centers also offer: Assistance with Income Tax return preparation, applying for Veterans Aid & Assistance, homestead tax exemptions, application for utility assistance, a senior discount program which local merchants participate in, and volunteer programs where seniors can aid in community functions.

Who are Users of Senior Centers?
People who stay and age in place in their own neighborhoods, even though we have heard many people who move to a community located near a center, which sounds like the ideal set up to us.

Age requirement varies by location, we have seen many at age 50, many more 55 and 60, with the highest age limit requirement being age 62.

You are sure to enjoy interacting with people your age from your own neighborhood that use your local center. Single, widowed, divorced and married couples all enjoy the use of their center. Some use and also volunteer at their center.

Centers are not all alike, so get out and visit the ones in your area or an area you are thinking about moving to. No better time to visit now. You will be welcomed and given a tour of the facilities and the activities provided. Just do it, it is fun! Many first time visitors sign up for an activity like the book club, walking club or yoga or even just take a one time class on something interesting.

Activities for Seniors
Activities at Denver Senior Centers include:
Exercise and Fitness programs (Yoga, Stretching, Tai chi)
Computer classes
Arts and Crafts
Various Educational classes (Grandparenting, photography, nutrition)
Recreational and Social activities
Health Screenings and services
Special Events and Guest speakers
Dances and Dance classes (Waltz, Cha-cha, Zumba)
Clubs (walking, theater, bird watching)
Group Travel opportunities
...and much more!

Congregate Meals on Wheels Denver
Many Denver Senior Centers serve congregate meals such as breakfast and a hot nutritious lunch free or for a small donation. Senior Centers usually ask that meal reservations be made one day in advance. To reserve your congregate meal breakfast or lunch contact your local Senior Center. Senior Centers also serve as a base of operations for the popular Meals on Wheels program.

Check out their website to find the Senior Center closest to you!

What You Need to Know About Age-Friendly States


The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2035, for the first time in American history, the 65-and-older population will outnumber people 18 and younger.

“So what?” you may say. “How does that affect me?” Well, as we grow older, it becomes increasingly important to consider how “age-friendly” cities and states are across America. The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities does just that by encouraging local governments to prepare for the rapidly aging population by upping their focus on issues and amenities that mean the most to the well-being of older residents. And that entails asking the following questions:

1. Is public transportation easily accessible?

2. Are there parks and walking paths for exercise?

3. How easy is it to make and maintain friendships?

4. Is medical care convenient?

5. Is there affordable housing?

6. What kind of health and community support is available?

7. Are there employment opportunities for older peeps?

You probably didn’t ask yourself these questions when you found your current home. You thought more about good schools, the right size house and proximity to work. Historically, attracting middle-class, middle-aged families with kids has been a big priority for state and local governments. But given the upcoming demographic shift, states risk losing residents who can’t afford, or no longer want to live in, their big empty nests. The taxes are too high. They can’t get around without a car or there aren’t enough jobs for older workers. So they suffer. Or they leave.

A recent AARP study found that more than 76 percent of Americans 50 and older would like to keep living in their current homes or in a different one in the same community as long as possible — but less than half can afford to stay in either. Therefore, cities and states have had little choice but to become more “age-friendly.” So far, 332 communities nationwide and three states — Colorado, New York and Massachusetts — have become members of the AARP Network.

Colorado, for example, is cracking down on age discrimination and considering giving tax benefits to employers that hire older workers. New York committed to investing $125 million in affordable housing for low-income and older adults. And Massachusetts established a Governor's Council to Address Aging, which works to promote healthy aging, after researching the needs of older residents by conducting listening sessions across the state.

But in many places, lawmakers and local grassroots organizations are making big and small changes in nearly every facet of senior life — transportation, access to technology, business and tax incentives, appropriate housing (a big issue), access to health care, cost of living and hiring practices. It’s a complicated process that requires infrastructure changes as well as researched, thought-out implementation.

By partnering with the AARP Livable Communities initiative, governments get assistance when it comes to educating and inspiring “elected officials, local leaders, planners and citizen activists on how to identify their community's specific needs and then to create and implement the programs, policies and projects that will help meet those needs.”

Becoming an Age-Friendly State is “an aspiration and an intention to resolve the challenges facing an aging population,” says Danielle Arigoni, director of AARP Livable Communities. “It’s not a certification. By joining the network, the state embarks on a five-year process to make their communities more age-friendly, and we guide them through the process.”

AARP Livable Communities lays the groundwork for the necessary changes by making planning tools, resources and statistics available to community leaders and local groups.

“Our day-to-day lives are a compilation of a thousand decisions that have been made by communities designed to respond to one age bracket — middle-aged families with kids,” Arigoni says. “We’re changing as a country, as we’re no longer comprised mostly of households with children, but we are habitually making decisions as if that group is still the primary target.”

Everyone benefits when states and cities work harder to service their older population. “A park is more attractive to young families if it’s safer for older adults,” she says. “And it’s more appealing to older adults if they see families there.” 

As you plan ahead, consider one of these age-friendly communities or, even better, learn what you can do to improve yours.

 Link to AARP Article:

Ways to help Seniors deal with Isolation and Depression


Many seniors go through major life changes that could make them more vulnerable to depression. But it’s heartbreaking to stand by and watch someone deal with depression or loneliness on their own.

Daily Caring features some great tips to help your older adult cope with symptoms and improve their quality of life.

According to WHO estimates, depression affects about 350 million people of all ages worldwide. While coping with depression is tough, it’s even more difficult to watch an aging family member struggle with it.

As my depressed mother-in-law’s caregiver, I’ve come up with a list of tips I wish to share with other caregivers to make it easier for them to help their older adult deal with isolation and depression.


1. Treat sleeping problems
Many seniors who live alone are prone to sleeping problems which can aggravate depression. To prevent serious depressive episodes, see to it that the older adult keeps a regular sleep schedule and doesn’t take daytime naps.

If the person suffers from sundowning or sleep disorder, keep engaging activities or necessary medication close at hand.

2. Promote a sense of purpose
Struggle with depression is much tougher for people who’ve lost their sense of purpose in life.

To keep loneliness and brooding at bay, encourage the senior to take up a hobby such as knitting or gardening. You can also talk them into trying social pastime activities such as card playing, yoga, or volunteer work for a local charity.

3. Encourage social interaction
Don’t let your loved one deal with depression on their own: encourage them to visit friends and extended family, take part in group outings, and attend community events.

Studies suggest that an active social life improves physical, mental, and emotional health, which are especially important for the elderly struggling with loneliness and depression.

4. Keep them physically active
Research found that physical activity can be a lifesaver for aging persons. Gentle exercises such as walking, stair climbing, and age-appropriate workouts can help a senior stay in solid physical, mental, and emotional shape.

You can also encourage the depressed person to sign up for a group exercise class like yoga or tai chi – they might even make friends with like-minded peers.

5. Make sure they eat healthy
Dealing with an aging person’s depression is easier if you know what foods to serve them.

Fiber-rich food such as fruit and vegetables are a must for seniors, and so are whole grains and lean protein. Serve vegetables lightly cooked, and minimize sugar, starch, and unhealthy fats.

6. Entrust them with a chore
Seniors who live alone often get caught up in a whirlwind of negative thinking. It would be great if you could entrust them with a meaningful responsibility.

For mobile seniors, a dog will make a perfect companion that will make them feel loved and needed, keep them physically active, and serve as a social lubricant.

I’ve found caring for a plant can also be a potent mood-booster: my mother-in-law’s depression has improved since I bought her a moringa tree to look after.

7. Show them they’re loved
Love makes the world go round, and it can help keep a senior’s depression under control. Show aging seniors that you love and need them, listen to them, and hug them often.

Expressions of love are especially important for widowed seniors who need more support and affection to deal with grief.

8. Seek professional help
Decreases in appetite and behavioral changes can be a symptom of depression getting worse. Contact a mental health professional and sign the senior up for counseling if you suspect the disorder is getting out of hand.

The therapist may recommend antidepressants, but in less serious cases, alternative medicine like aromatherapy or occupational therapy may be a better option.

9. Keep an eye on pills
In case your depressed family member is using antidepressants, you should make sure they take medications regularly and obey doctor’s orders in terms of dosage, lifestyle and diet.

You may also need to help manage medication. Remind them to take their daily dose and watch the medicine cabinet for signs of abuse or skipped doses.

10. Consider home care
For senior family members aging in place, you can hire someone to check in on them once a day and help with day-to-day chores such as grocery shopping and bathing.

Until I convinced my mother-in-law to move in with us, she’d been on full-time home care in San Francisco. Though it was a temporary solution, it made traveling over the holidays far less stressful knowing that she was in good hands.


Guest contributor: Zara Lewis is a mom, fitness & yoga enthusiast, caregiver to her mother in-law and a regular writer for High Style Life. She is devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her family and friends. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning some new skills, because she sees her parenthood as going to school forever. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling and baking.

Link to Original Article:

Focusing on Rural Livability


If you live in or around the Denver Metro Rural Livability may not seem applicable but as Colorado has become a rapid growing state of transplants, many new residents leave behind family members in states with a large rural footprint. If you look at the graphic, there is more Rural area than Metro in Colorado. 


Residents and representatives of rural areas and small towns discuss what livability looks like — and what it means — for older adults and people of all ages in America's nonurban communities

A key portion of America's demographic future is showing up first in rural areas, where a greater proportion of the population is older than, on average, residents of urban areas. "Rural areas are aging at a faster rate than the general population," notes the Rural Health Insurance Hub, adding that "older adults also disproportionately live in rural areas."

In 2010, one-quarter of all Americans age 65 or older lived in small towns and rural communities and that number is growing. In reporting that the population of people age 85 or older will more than triple from 5.8 million in 2010 to 19 million in 2050, the Housing Assistance Council declares, "This change will have profound implications in rural regions which already have a larger share of seniors and a smaller share of social services than suburban and urban communities." 

The realities of rural aging are playing out nationwide, and the states with the largest percentages of older rural and small town residents can be found in every region. The top 10 such states are Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Oregon, Maine, Arizona, North Dakota, Virginia, Minnesota and Nebraska. 

Those stats and realities served as the backdrop for several sessions and a wide-ranging focus group conversation at the AARP Livable Communities National Conference held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in November 2018. The LOR Foundation, whose mission is to support the prosperity and preserve the character of rural communities throughout the Mountain West, was a conference sponsor. With 5 million member households located outside of large urban or suburban areas, AARP is one of the largest organizations representing rural and small town residents.

As the importance of community livability for people of all ages becomes more evident across the United States, it's critical for elected officials, local leaders, businesses and nonprofits to fully understand the issues, challenges and opportunities facing rural communities.

"The overwhelming majority of rural seniors desire to age in place,"states the Housing Assistance Council in its report "Housing an Aging Rural America: Rural Seniors and Their Homes. "Unfortunately, aging in place can prove difficult in rural regions where spread-out geographies and a lack of public transportation make accessing needed supportive services and amenities difficult. Home retrofits are often necessary for many seniors as their homes may become less accessible as they age, although these can be cost-prohibitive. Furthermore, seniors’ incomes do not always match their housing costs, decreasing their ability to remain in their homes."

Despite the many challenges that need addressing in rural communities, the AARP-LOR focus group — which included community leaders and AARP staff and volunteers from a dozen states stretching from Maine to New Mexico — painted a vivid portrait of rural life today and what smaller communities can do to ensure a bright future.

The gathering's optimism about rural America was validated a month later when a Gallup Poll found that although 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in metropolitan regions, a majority would prefer to live somewhere else: 27 percent favored rural areas, 17 percent selected small cities and 12 percent said they'd like to reside in a small town. The Gallup findings were affirmed by the LOR Foundation survey cited in this article's sidebars. 

Following are key themes from the discussion

1. OLDER ADULTS play critical volunteer roles in communities
Life can feel increasingly isolating for older adults, especially when due to age or disability they are dependent on relatives for their daily needs, reported Therese Picasso-Edwards of the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation in Montana.

However, older people who are able-bodied and energetic often become "jack-of-all-trade" volunteers. "Older people do the bulk of volunteer work and do it well because of their lifetime of experiences," offered Anne Schroth, program director of the Healthy Peninsula community wellness initiative in Maine.

"We need to seize every opportunity we can to celebrate volunteering," said Brad Anderson,  director of AARP Iowa, adding that it's important to identify and extol "star" volunteers. Doing so helps remind everyone that older people are assets, not liabilities, to their communities. 

2. HEALTH CARE in rural communities requires partnerships with rural health associations and care providers to ensure adequate coverage

Great distances and a lack of medical providers can make it difficult for rural residents of every age to access health care services. The focus-group participants offered some ideas for lasting improvements.

Eric Gaikowski, director of AARP South Dakota, advocated for increasing the availability of tele-medicine, where doctors living far from their patients can regularly check in by computer. Better doctor-to-doctor communication can also save lives, as happened when an ER doctor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, guided a less experienced practitioner at a rural Montana hospital 700 miles away in performing surgery on a young girl badly injured in an ATV accident.

LaMonte Guillory of the LOR Foundation (read our "5 Questions for ..." interview with him) asked what role rural areas can play in the future of medicine. "How can rural attract projects that are pushing the boundaries on medical innovation? Telemedicine, robotics, collaborative care models, you name it."

It was also suggested that paramedics pay home visits to older people to assess their nutrition, living conditions and overall health. Forging partnerships on health care campaigns was raised by a number of participants. "Don't reinvent the wheel," counseled Bill Menner of the Iowa Rural Development Council, noting that "every state has a rural health association."

3. A range of TRANSPORTATION choices are available in most rural communities, but they could be enhanced through better coordination, communication and expansion

Just as in urban areas, older people in rural areas will continue driving even after it is no longer safe. The reasons are obvious — living without a car in most communities means limited mobility options. 

Funding transportation for older citizens is a challenge, said Joy Beressi-Saucier, director of the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging in Northern Maine. Cuts to public transportation services in rural areas have been devastating.

In Colorado, AARP is working to expand intercommunity bus service. Rural transit in Vermont is generally good, observed Kelly Stoddard-Poor of AARP Vermont, but there's a significant need to improve "last mile" mobility for people getting to and from bus stops. Sue Lessard, town manager of Bucksport, Maine, shared that the local bus service in her region once ran only one day a week — precisely the day the doctor at the health clinic specializing in older patients did not work. 

Erik Gaikowski added that in some places transit vans will pass through a town without stopping. He emphasized the need to establish a "one-stop shop" coordinating all rides in a region. 

Communication is another part of the problem, noted Peg McDonough, planner and coordinator for the Age-Friendly Berkshires organization in Western Massachusetts. "People often don’t know about the transportation services they could use," she explained, adding that many older Americans are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with transit.  

Well-known companies such as Lyft and Uber have so far been slow to establish service in smaller communities. In some places, homegrown or volunteer-based versions are trying to fill the gap. The Maine-based iTNAmerica has built a nationwide volunteer-based network. Feonix: Mobility Rising (see sidebar) is a similar enterprise with a focus on the rural Midwest.  

4. Contrary to common assumptions, WALKABILITY is an important part of small town life

Mobility means more than buses, transit vans and cars. Most older Americans grew up walking and bicycling, and many would welcome the chance to do more of it today if there were safe routes and pathways. In fact, according to a Rails to Trails report, people in towns with populations under 50,000 walk nearly as much as people in urban and suburban centers do thanks to streets with little traffic and businesses within easy walking distance.

To improve infrastructure, and make walking safer, AARP Oklahoma helps small towns find grants to build safety improvements that the municipalities could not otherwise afford. "A $10,000 grant goes a long way in a town of 5,000," said state director Sean Voskuhl. 

In Vermont, AARP is helping train communities to conduct walk audits — where citizens and local officials make a detailed study of pedestrian conditions with an eye toward improving life for those on foot or bike. (See sidebar.)
Rebecca Stone of Bethel, Vermont, spoke of how a push for better walkability and a more lively downtown transformed her community. After Tropical Storm Irene battered the town in 2013, Stone and other neighbors organized ad hoc efforts to fix the place up. It began with organizing a fall festival, during which they asked people of all ages to imagine what they wanted for Bethel. That brainstorming led to an ambitious community education program, dubbed Bethel University, which, Stone said, “created a sense of pride for the first time in years.”

Out of that came measures to calm traffic on the main street through downtown, repurposing some of the pavement for a footpath and opening pop-up businesses in the mostly vacant storefronts. Benches, bike racks, public art, a parklet and a holiday market followed, with help from AARP and the placemaking firm Team Better Block. The most important lesson learned, according to Stone: "Say yes to new ideas and then experiment to see if they work."

5. HOUSING challenges are acute in many rural communities, related to both the design and accessibility of homes as well as affordability

Spiraling housing costs and shortages are most often associated with booming cities, but the same issues hit home in many rural communities. 

Rising utility costs are a problem throughout Colorado, said AARP state director Robert Murphy, while soaring rents and home prices are creating additional problems for older residents in the western part of the state.

In Montana, people are moving to rural areas from out of state, which raises housing costs for older people who don’t own homes, explained Steve Reiter of AARP Montana. Many are forced to move farther away from town — and farther from their friends and basic services. Rapidly increasing housing costs makes life tough even for homeowners, who find themselves asset-rich and cash-poor because of steep increases in property taxes. 
In Maine, many rural homes do not have first-floor bedrooms and bath. A problem in rural Massachusetts is that most homes were designed as single-family residences, which don’t serve the needs of older people who may need other kinds of living arrangements, said Peg McDonough.

We need more incentives to interest housing developers in building in small communities, said Iowa's Bill Menner. "Show them they can make money here."

6. BROADBAND WIRELESS INTERNET is a critical need in rural communities, and may be the means for leveling the playing field of opportunity

Two decades ago, a rural renaissance was widely predicted with the rise of the internet. People could live and work anywhere, and millions would move into idyllic smaller communities where they could enjoy the benefits of big cities but online. What was overlooked in this scenario was the complication of bringing high-speed broadband internet to the countryside.

Considerably less than half of the people in the room raised their hands when Kelly Wismer of The Rural Broadband Association asked who had good broadband service in their communities.

George Cleveland, a volunteer from New Hampshire's Mount Washington Valley, cited broadband as one of the most critical elements of livability in a community like his.
"The expansion of high-speed internet can make a huge difference for small towns because, among other things, it opens opportunities for people to work remotely," observed Guillory.  "Without it, it's harder for younger people to move or stay here."

Although programs exist to help bring high-speed internet to rural areas, many communities still aren’t convinced about the benefits of broadband, noted Laura Lee of the Maine Community Foundation. Meanwhile, people in other places are tired of waiting for telecommunications corporations to reach them and they're looking at ways to start broadband networks on their own, said Joy Beressi-Saucier, also of Maine. Wismer suggested that rural telephone cooperatives take on providing broadband service.

7. MESSAGING MATTERS since, to some, talking about "livability" implies that something is lacking in their community

"People take pride in the place they live, so we need to work with that," said Tanya Johnson, director of AARP Wyoming. "You won't get anywhere starting with the assumption that something is wrong or missing in their town."

"We need to frame livability differently in rural areas because it's often seen strictly as an urban concern," said DeAnza Valencia of AARP New Mexico. Sue Lessard cautioned that outsiders wanting to help a rural community need to work with residents since "people won't respond if there isn't a trusted local link."

Go in with questions rather than answers, be prepared to listen and never pass up the chance to have a meal with people, advised George Man, based on his experiences working in Montana with Americorps/VISTA.
Sean Voskuhl of AARP Oklahoma underscored the importance of partnerships, citing rural extension agencies, which operate in all 50 states, as a widely available example. "The USDA Rural Development agency is also a big help," according to Joe Bartmann of Dakota Resources.

Another bit of advice: Community improvement plans can be more successful when done with neighboring communities in mind, rather than piecemeal town by town. 

8. Rural communities can be places of OPPORTUNITY with an appealing, preferable pace

In a world that feels ever more hectic and fragmented, small communities offer calm and connectedness.

"A strong sense of community in small towns is already there," so you don't have to work to make it happen, noted Kelly Stoddard-Poor. 

Easy access to open spaces stands out as another asset rural communities can build on. LOR Foundation research shows that rural Americans see the outdoors as an important component of livability. "Recreation, for instance, is about being in a natural place, not just getting exercise," said Guillory.

Final Thoughts
The migration of young people away from many rural regions changes the social dynamic, with older residents mourning their departure but also stepping up to fill the void.

Yet not all rural areas are battling a youth- or brain-drain. While some counties in, for instance, Colorado, are seeing an exodus of people under 30, others are experiencing an influx

Challenging the stories that people tell themselves about their community is especially important in rural communities. One story that needs to be turned on its head, declared Gaikowski of AARP South Dakota, is that any community that loses population is doomed. 

"A community can be thriving even if it's not growing," he explained. "It's a mistake to assume that a town is dying just because it has fewer residents than in the past. That diminishes all of the positive things going on every day. Such a view leads communities to invest all of their energy and resources into attracting new businesses, rather than paying attention to the lives and the needs of people who are already there."

This article is extremely rich with information, quotes, and graphics please visit the site below to access all the great information sited regarding Rural Livability:

Dementia exercise programs improve cognitive symptoms


Daily Caring featured a great dementia specific exercise program with a FREE downloadable booklet.

A new dementia exercise therapy program that can easily be done at home improves abilities and quality of life in seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Love to Move is a chair-based exercise program designed for seniors with dementia. It was developed by the British Gymnastics Foundation (BGF) and inspired by successful programs in Asia.

It’s been shown to improve cognitive function, reduce depression, improve balance, and improve ability to perform everyday tasks.

We explain what the Love to Move program is and how the exercises improve dementia symptoms.

We also share the free instruction booklet BGF created so you can do these simple exercises with your older adult.

How the Love to Move program helps seniors with dementia
Experts in Japan created chair-based dementia exercise programs to improve the lives of nursing care residents with dementia. The simple exercises were based on cognitive stimulation, memory arousal, and music.

The results were so positive that the program won full state funding and is now used in every care home across the country.

The BGF was so inspired by the Japanese program’s success that they worked with the program leaders to design UK-based dementia exercise programs using those same principles.

BGF’s pilot program showed amazing results in seniors with dementia:

  • 71% of participants had noticeable physical improvements

  • 86% were socializing more with other residents and staff

  • 93% seemed happier and more settled

  • 100% were easier to connect with

Why exercises for dementia improve ability to perform everyday tasks
The Love to Move program is based on the concept of performing different movements with the right and left sides of the body at the same time.

Basically, it’s like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.

These types of exercises take a lot of concentration. When practiced, it increases the ability for the right and left sides of the brain to process information independently of each other.

This increases the number of neural connections and increases cognitive ability.

The Love to Move exercise program has increased seniors’ ability to perform everyday tasks like feeding themselves, engaging in activities, and communicating with family and friends. Coordination and ability to sit unassisted in a chair was also improved.

 Simple at-home dementia exercise programs
The BGF created a free booklet with 4 essential home exercises from the Love to Move program so older adults everywhere can benefit from this program.

It includes straightforward instructions, example photos, and special tips from head coach Kim Hall on how to make the exercises easier and more effective.

Click the link below to Print or Save the booklet and give these exercises a try with your older adult

Senior Planet offers a range of FREE 5- and 10-week digital technology courses

Screen-Shot-2019-02-11-at-11.12.33-AM.png celebrates aging by sharing information and resources that support aging with attitude, and helps people who were born long before the digital revolution to stay engaged and active by bringing a digital-technology focus to a range of topics – among them news, health, sex and dating, art and design, senior style, travel and entertainment.

Senior Planet offers a range of FREE 5- and 10-week digital technology courses that require advance registration, as well as weekly tech-themed events, workshops and lectures. 

Registration for the Spring Quarter in Colorado is currently active for adults age 60+. Classes fill on a first-come, first-serve basis; to register for a course please email or call 720-616-2237. Waitlisted individuals will be notified of open seats in the first two weeks of the course.

The Spring Quarter will run from April 9th – June 13th

Computer Essentials
iPad Essentials
Chrome Essentials
Beyond Basics
Redy, Set, Bank
Money Matters

Senior Planet offers more than just technology courses, they also feature a wide range of articles that apply to Seniors and Technology. Check out their site to see all they have to offer!

Some creative ways to celebrate Mother's Day


We've gathered some creative ideas to help you celebrate Mom

Gifts of Time

Your mother might find that having an opportunity to spend a bit more time with you more valuable than anything you could purchase. These gift ideas don't cost you anything but time, and they provide you with ways to help our your loved one while also spending time with her.

Digitize Photos
Chances are mom has albums or drawers full of photographs she's collected over the years. You could offer to scan them into a computer and showing her how to view the digital images is a great gift idea. Assuming that you own a scanner, this won't cost you any money and will provide you with an opportunity to spend several memorable hours bonding with her over family memories. There are also companies that specialize in digitizing photos if you don'y have the ability to do it yourself.

Social Media Tutoring
Try helping your senior set up a Facebook profile and teaching her how to use it can also be a thoughtful (and free!) gift idea. This will provide her with an outlet to get - and stay - connected with loved ones and old friends. She'll even be able to put some of the photos you digitized for her to good use! Be sure, though, that the lessons you provide also include information on Internet safety and privacy.

Home Services
There are likely some regular chores that your mother would rather not have to do anymore; Caring For Aging Parents says that offering to help can be a great gift idea. Devote a certain amount of time each month to doing whatever tasks she'd like to delegate to you. Let her pick what you do each time - if she wants help with yard work, do that. If she's in need of help moving furniture around, changing light bulbs or cleaning out the attic, then do that.

Homemade Gifts
Homemade gifts can be more meaningful than items purchased in the store. Consider one of these simple and inexpensive ideas when you want to let ensure that your mother or grandmother feels extra-special on Mother's Day.

Memory Jar
Legacy Project suggests creating a memory jar. You'll just need a nice jar, several small pieces of paper and time to reflect. On each piece of paper, write down a different memory of a wonderful time that you have shared with the recipient. Fold the pieces of paper and place them in the jar so she can, as Legacy Project suggests, "'munch on them' over time". This is also a great idea if dementia is a factor but modify the gift and come up with the memories together. 

Photo Bouquet
Instead of giving a bouquet of flowers that will last only a few days, consider creating a bouquet of meaningful photographs. Legacy Project suggests cutting flower shapes from construction paper and gluing photo cut-outs in the center of each flower. Have color copies made of original photos if you're using images of childhood memories, or simply take and print new digital images.

Freezer Meals
If your mother is starting to think about downsizing her home or simplifying her surroundings, she might prefer not to receive trinkets as a gift. However, not all homemade gifts take up space on the shelves. Instead of making something for her to display, consider putting together a collection of freezer casseroles or other freezer-friendly meals for her. This will help her save time and money, as well as provide nutritious meals for days she doesn't have dinner plans or time to cook.

Gifts to Purchase
There are also plenty of great options you can buy that moms who are seniors are sure to appreciate greatly. Just be sure that you're considering what the recipient would really enjoy instead of your own preferences when shopping.

Meal Delivery Service
If you like the idea of providing meals as a Mother's Day gift but you don't like to cook or don't live close enough to drop off an array of casseroles, consider investing in a meal delivery service for your mother. There are a number of options with nationwide delivery. Examples include: has a Meal-of-the-Month club that you can purchase for three months (around $235) , six months (around $450) or twelve months (around $800). offers options especially designed for the dietary needs of seniors. A seven-day package of 7 full meals costs between $80-$90. Individual meals costing around $12 each are available, as well as gift certificates.

Personalized Gifts
There are endless options of things you can personalize. Calendars, doormats, cookie jars, coffee mugs, really ANYTHING! Here's a link to site that features gift ideas tailored for the proud Grandma We've also included a link to Amazon below that has tons of great items you would never think of. 

Flower are a popular item but rather than a simple bouquet try a trip to the nursery to choose them together. Picking the planter, blooms and then potting them can be a great way to spend an afternoon together. 

We found these great ideas and at:

Worried about someone’s memory or cognitive function?


Do you wonder if your parent or spouse’s increased forgetfulness or strange behavior is a normal part of aging or if they’re signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia?

Daily Caring came up with a great short list with example situations to help you with this question.

It turns out that everyone loses some memory-making and cognitive abilities as they age. The decline starts by age 40 and keeps going. So, occasional forgetfulness (Where did I leave my keys? What did I come here to get?) probably isn’t something to worry about. But there are signs that the behavior you’re observing could be outside the norm.

We found a helpful explanation of 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association. From that list, we highlight 5 real-life examples that show the key differences between normal aging behavior and possible early signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

So how do you know if the behavior you’re noticing in your older adult is normal or if they need to be evaluated by a doctor?

It’s easy to make that assumption, but it’s important to get more information before thinking the worst. There are big differences between the normal forgetfulness that comes with age and the warning signs of cognitive impairment. Plus, there are many common and treatable health conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms.

Here’s how that might look in 5 everyday situations:

1. Everyday tasks like using the TV remote or microwave oven
Normal aging: Needing help or reminders once in a while

Signs of Alzheimer’s: Trouble with familiar or daily tasks like getting lost driving to a local store they’ve shopped for 10 years, forgetting how to make a favorite recipe they’ve cooked for decades, or not understanding how to play a card game they play regularly.

2. Multi-step or complex tasks like paying bills or cooking a meal
Normal aging: Making mistakes once in a while when balancing a checkbook or cooking a meal (Oops, forgot the paprika!).

Signs of Alzheimer’s: Difficulty planning, problem solving, or sequencing steps, like trouble following a familiar recipe or not being able to keep track of monthly bills.

3. Keeping track of time
Normal aging: Sometimes getting temporarily confused about the day of the week, then figuring it out later. (Is today Tuesday or Wednesday? Oh that’s right, it’s Wednesday.)

Signs of Alzheimer’s: Having trouble tracking dates, seasons, and the passage of time. Sometimes forgetting where they are or how they got there.

4. Judgement and decision-making
Normal aging: Once in a while using poor judgment or making bad decisions like drinking too much at a big party or spending too much money on something frivolous.

Signs of Alzheimer’s: Frequently uses bad judgment or makes unwise decisions like giving large amounts of money to telemarketers or scammers, buying tons of unnecessary stuff from online shopping channels, or paying less attention than normal to personal hygiene – like wearing the same clothes, refusing to bathe, etc.

5. Personality changes
Normal aging: Getting annoyed or irritated when a long-held habit or routine is disrupted.

Signs of Alzheimer’s: Noticeable changes in mood or personality like getting confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. Or, being easily upset at home, at work, with friends, or in places where they’re out of their comfort zone. 

Bottom line
If you notice significant, serious, or sudden behavior changes in your older adult, schedule a checkup with their doctor right away.

If these changes are caused by Alzheimer’s or dementia, early detection and treatment could help reduce and manage symptoms – allowing them to stay independent longer.


Daily Caring article link:

Morgan's Success Story: A Working Wife's Struggle


-Big Thanks to Jessica at Kaiser-

I was referred to Tom and his wife Donna by a Social Worker at Saint Joe's that recognized a family in great need. Tom has been living with Parkinson's for 25 years, and only recently did his care needs start to become bigger than what is wife was able to manage. Donna ran her own successful business, was her husband's caregiver, and still managed to keep up with their household. But when things started to change, it happened very fast. 

Tom had just come home from a stay at rehab, he was recovering from a freak infection that really took its toll. His wife is an amazing advocate and noticed he was reacting to his usual medications very differently now that he was home. She took a video that she showed to a nurse at Kaiser, which ended up being a big key to his treatment. Unfortunately that sent Tom directly back to the hospital. This was both a blessing and a disappointment. Tom had barely made it back home, but he needed his medications adjusted immediately. 

Here is when I met the couple, in the emergency room. Donna was beside herself as the reality of the situation was weighing on her heavily, she could no longer safely care for her husband at home. He was a fall risk and if he fell, she could not help him up. This scared her, "what happens if he gets hurt, or falls while she is at work and so on". Not to mention she was getting no sleep!

The three of us sat in his darkened room, and talked about needs, wants, and options. Donna and I began touring the next day. 

This is a not usual, most often it takes time to find places that can meet the unique needs of someone with Parkinson's, and get tours arranged, etc. But the stars aligned, and we got busy. We saw many places over a few days. We found a perfect fit, but Tom was too weak, medications not stable, and the desired room was not yet available. While this was setback, I helped Donna remain positive. We kept in touch and touring, just waiting to see what would happen. 

Eventually, Tom made the big leap to discharge and go to skilled nursing for rehab--this was huge, he was improving! 

After seeing about 7 places, Donna picked one that both she and her son felt good about--and this is key! Family and support persons must feel comfortable in the place where their loved one is going to live. Not only will this help the resident adjust because you are at ease when visiting, but it will help staff feel receptive to a new family with new needs. 

We often miss how hard it is for staff to get to know a family who comes in with high expectations that may or may not be accurate! It is also hard to allow someone else to care for your husband, after you have given your life to doing so for so many years. Both sides have a big challenge that takes time and grace from everyone involved. 

I am happy to report that everyone is adjusting. Donna presented her concerns, and the new community heard them, responded, and even agreed that she was right by adding more support at the home. 
This is another victory! No one place is perfect, just like us, no one person is perfect! 

I was grateful to be able to work with this family, and I thank Jessica for the opportunity to be helpful. 

Morgan Leigh Jenkins, MA
Transition Director

The Inequality of Aging in Place


This is an interesting article that brings some real facts into light.

Research shows that most people prefer to age in place—remaining at home, near family, and in their community as they get older. But not all places are equal, and harmful neighborhood conditions can lead to poorer health outcomes and reduced life expectancy.  Who bears the biggest burden from unequal neighborhood conditions?

Relying on data from the 2010 Health and Retirement Study and a scan of relevant academic literature, researchers examine how neighborhood poverty, disorder, social cohesion, and air pollution affect health outcomes for older adults of different incomes, races, and ethnicities. The evidence suggests that low-income older adults and older adults of color are more likely to live in neighborhoods with economic, social, and physical conditions that are detrimental to their health.


Key findings

  • Residents of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods—regardless of their own income level—are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, mobility issues, cognitive impairment, and accelerated biological aging than those living in more economically prosperous neighborhoods.

  • At every level of income, Hispanic and Black older adults are more than twice as likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods than white older adults—with some income levels showing much larger disparities.

  • Among adults with low incomes, 66 percent of older Blacks and 60 percent of older Hispanics reside in high-poverty neighborhoods compared with just 20 percent of older whites. Meanwhile, the share of upper-income older Blacks (32 percent) and Hispanics (24 percent) living in a high-poverty neighborhood is higher than the share of low-income older whites (22 percent) residing in such places.

  • Neighborhood disorder, from vacant buildings to safety concerns, can cause psychological distress and reduce rates of physical activity among older adults. Older adults with higher incomes generally perceive less disorder in their neighborhoods, but more Hispanic and Black older adults see signs of disorder in their neighborhoods than white adults, regardless of their income.

  • Strong connections and relationships with neighbors are critical for the health and well-being of older adults whose social interactions have become more geographically limited. Even though research shows that social cohesion generally increases with household income, a larger portion of older Hispanics and Blacks at every level of income live in low-cohesion neighborhoods than white adults. Low-cohesion was defined based on reported feelings of not belonging in the area, not knowing friendly or trustworthy people, and not knowing people who could help in a time of trouble.

  • Research shows that exposure to air pollution can lead to severe respiratory damage, cause inflammation and blood clots, and damage the structure and function of an aging brain. At every level of income, a larger portion of older Black adults live in high-pollution neighborhoods than do white adults.

Policy implication

  • Efforts to improve aging outcomes need to consider the unequal distribution of older adults in neighborhoods and to address the barriers that may impede neighborhood-based activities. Age-friendly community programs should ensure that all older adults have the opportunity to live in neighborhoods that safeguard and promote their health and well-being.

Original Article can be found at:

A Little Help is looking for volunteers for Service Saturday!


These are twice-yearly events providing volunteer assistance for seniors with various home maintenance jobs, cleaning, organizing, raking, and other household tasks.

Event volunteers join trained A Little Help volunteers to form small teams and tackle a multitude of tasks.  A Little Help Service Saturdays! are great opportunities to pitch in and help your neighbors. We welcome volunteers from companies, churches, groups, families, and individuals. We appreciate your help to serve and celebrate the older adults in our communities!

 If you are volunteering as a group, please be sure to include all of your group's information when registering. Just click on the county where you're interested in volunteering and you'll be redirected to details and sign-up info. Hope to see you there!


May 11 - Denver County North

May 11 - Jefferson County North


May 18 - Denver County South

May 18 - Jefferson County South

Check out A Little Helps' website for event details including before and after pictures from previous years, sponsorship opportunities and
other upcoming events!

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Affordable Senior Transportation Options


This article from Daily Caring has some great options that partner with insurance.

Affordable senior transportation is essential for maintaining independence and health. Without a reliable way to get to doctor’s appointments or buy food and household supplies, seniors can’t realistically remain in their homes as they age.

Social isolation is another big problem for seniors who don’t drive. It causes poorer quality of life and contributes to earlier death.Having access to affordable transportation keeps older adults connected with family, friends, and their community.

To keep seniors healthy and active, we’ve rounded up transportation options that help seniors get around.


1. County public transportation services for seniors
Most counties across the U.S. offer free or low-cost public transportation services designed for seniors who need door-to-door rides.

The best way to find these programs is to call your county’s Area Agency on Aging. They’ll connect you with available local programs.

The  ElderCareLocator is another way to find local government transportation programs – enter zip code in the search box at the top of the page.

2. GoGoGrandparent
GoGoGrandparent is a concierge service that connects seniors with on-demand ride services like Lyft and Uber. These services can have a car at your location in minutes.

Best for: Seniors who are able to get in and out of a car without assistance

Price: Riders pay the regular price for the on-demand ride plus an additional 19 cents/mile for the concierge service. On-demand ride fares vary, but are generally lower than taxi rates.

How it works:
Use any touch-tone phone to call the toll-free number and arrange a ride
Live operators are available 24/7
For safety, rides are monitored and drivers are screened
Notifications about the ride are available for family members via text message
Walkers and foldable wheelchairs are no problem

3. Lyft
Lyft is a popular on-demand ride service that can have a car at your location within minutes.

Best for: Independent seniors who are comfortable using smartphone apps and can get in and out of a car without assistance

Price: Varies, but is generally lower than taxi rates.

How it works:
Download and set up the Lyft app on your older adult’s smartphone
Use the app to book a ride and pay automatically by credit card when the ride is finished
Special service for seniors: Concierge service (no smartphone required) is available through Lyft partners like assisted living communities, health organizations, etc. Ask local organizations if they partner with Lyft.

4. Veyo
Veyo is a company that partners with insurance companies and health facilities to provide non-emergency medical transportation that’s covered as an insurance benefit.

Best for: Seniors who need transportation to medical appointments and those who need a special vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair or stretcher

Price: Free, if their insurance company offers Veyo as a transportation benefit

How it works:
Ask your older adult’s insurance company if Veyo is one of their transportation benefits – if yes, they’ll help you schedule rides
Seniors and caregivers can’t sign up for the service or arrange rides – only a health organization partner can arrange rides

5. iTNAmerica
iTNAmerica is a national network of senior ride companies that offer door-through-door transportation. The number of locations is limited, but it’s a great option if it’s available in your older adult’s area.

Best for: Seniors who need assistance in and out of the car and through the door to their destination

Price: Rates are affordable, but pricing varies depending on the local affiliate

How it works:
Contact local offices for more information and to schedule rides

6. Hire a Caregiver to drive your Senior
Here's a link with tips if this is something you would be interested in.
6 Tips for Hiring a Caregiver to Drive Your Senior


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Tour at NEW Morningstar of Arvada


Check out these Views!

Morgan and her clients had an amazing lunch and tour with Shirley Raycraft at the brand new Morningstar of Arvada. 

The community is full of wonderful amenities! The view from the roof top deck is picturesque. And the warm water saline pool offers a helpful alternative for leisure and exercise. 
We had a delightful afternoon getting to know this community! 

Thank you, Shirely and your wonderful colleagues. 

Check out all of Morningstar's great locations:


FREE TRAINING- Addressing a New Epidemic: Bullying Among Older Adults


FREE TRAINING: May 9, 2019
Addressing a New Epidemic: Bullying Among

Older Adults

Presented by:
Robin P. Bonifas, Associate Professor and Associate Director for Curriculum & Instruction, Arizona State University School of Social Work.

This presentation provides a foundation for participants to understand peer-to-peer bullying and other antagonistic behaviors among older adults and to learn about promising interventions to address such behaviors, along with opportunity to discuss specific issues occurring within their organizations.

Thursday, May 9, 2019
Training 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Aurora City Hall, City Council Chambers
15151 E Alameda Parkway, Aurora, CO

Please arrive at 12:30.
Absolutely no food or drink is allowed into the City Council Chambers.
*Professional development CEU’s are available.

Professionals Who Should Attend
Social work practitioners, medical, psychologists and mental health, legal/judicial, law enforcement officials and personnel, home care placement agencies, court-appointed guardians and conservators, community-center board staff and clergy. All of the above – whether paid or unpaid.

CCERAP provides training at no cost, thanks to financial support from the Older Americans Act, disseminated by the Colorado Department of Human Services, State Unit on Aging.

Live Streaming, to be used only by people outside the Denver Metro Area: and click on the “Live” window in the upper left quarter of the page.

More Details

What is Bullying?
We will review the definition of bullying, the range of incidents that commonly occur, characteristics of older individuals who bully their peers, characteristics of older individuals who are the targets of peer bullying, and the impact bullying has on older adults.

Ways to Prevent Bullying?
Primary emphasis is given to a multi-level intervention framework for addressing buying in senior housing and senior service setting and easy-to-implement interventions that providers have found useful in minimizing such behaviors.

What Are Your Challenges?
Participants will have an opportunity to discuss specific difficulties they are having in their own organizations and receive feedback from the presenter and from one another.

About the Panelist
Robin Bonifas, Ph.D., MSW.
Associate Professor and Associate Director for Curriculum & Instruction, Arizona State University School of Social Work. Author of Bullying Among Older Adults: How to Recognize and Address an Unseeen Epidemic (Health Professions Press, 2016).

Robin received her master’s and doctoral degrees in social work from the University of Washington. She was named the John A. Harford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work in 2011. As a social gerontologist, she is focused on long-term care, elder abuse, and the resilience of older adults.

Please Register to attend using this link:


If your feet hurt, should you see a doctor?


Your feet can give you problems at any time oflife, but it’s especially an issue as we age.

Your feet hurt. It’s painful to walk. You’ve started limping. Your shoes don’t seem to fit right any more.

Dr. William Montross, a podiatric surgery specialist with UCHealth Podiatry Clinic – Printers Park, has seen it all in his 25 years as a podiatrist. But he especially sees escalating issues in older patients.

“The No. 1 thing I see with the elderly is they’ve been active all their life and the natural padding in their foot has worn out, so they are literally walking on skin and bones. Nerves get pinched. They’re more prone to plantar fasciitis and bone spurs. If they have a hammer toe or bunion, it makes those areas a lot more tender.

“It’s sort of like a bald tire,” he said.

The best solution to most foot problems is wearing proper shoes with good padding, he said.

“There are all types of padding you can buy over the counter, like Dr. Scholl’s gel cushions, or Sofsole shoe liners. You can go out and spend a lot of money on those hard, custom-made orthotics and they can actually make things worse. The Sofsoles are usually less than $20 a pair. I wear them myself.”

What happens if foot problems go untreated?
“Corns or bunions will just get worse and become more disabling. You become less active. It’s bad for your circulation and your heart. A lot of times it’s as simple as just getting the proper shoe and proper padding. Not all bunions require surgery, but today’s surgery is much better than is used to be and gets much better results.”

Another commonly untreated issue is arthritis, he said.

“A lot of times arthritis goes untreated because people think nothing can be done for it – but that is incorrect. There are a lot of things we can do, from shots to surgery. Foot care options have come a long way,” Montross said.

Ankle arthritis, used to be treated by fusion or replacements, he said. Sometimes the outcome was less than desirable.

“Now the ankle replacements are so much easier and longer-lasting (10-15 years), so they are viable option.”

A need for immediate care
Some issues do require immediate attention, like ingrown toenails.

“Ingrown toenails can become infected,” he said. “If untreated, the infection can track down into the bone. That can require amputation of the toe.”

As drastic as that sounds “with today’s technology, even if you lose all your toes, you can walk pretty normally.  OK, you can’t do ballet, but you can do jazz and tap,” he said.

Surgery is rarely the first option he chooses. “Surgery is appropriate typically when you have exhausted all other treatments,” Montross said. Some problems are directly attributed to wearing high heels, he said.

“I have no problem with women wearing high-heeled shoes on special occasions, but not every day,” he said. “My opinion is that high heels make existing problems worse. Wearing high heels can exacerbate whatever’s going on. If you wear them two hours once a week to go out to dinner, that’s not a problem. But if you wear them eight hours every day ….”

Peripheral neuropathy
A problem he and other physicians are seeing more of is peripheral neuropathy.

“It definitely is more common than it used to be – mainly because more people are diabetic,” he said. But there also is idiopathic neuropathy, and “we really have no idea what causes it. Could be from a trapped nerve, or just gosh awful bad luck.”

He’s seen the commercials on TV where clinics claim they can cure it.

“There is nothing that is really proven to fully cure it. You can control it with good diet and good shoes. Vitamins and creams and salves may help. Some medications can help. Nothing so far is super-promising, though.”

What are some things you can do to keep your feet healthy?
“Staying active is good for you. It keeps your circulation going,” he said.

“Moisturize your feet every day, or at least a few times a week. A lot of people, when they have dry skin, soak their feet. But that can actually pull out more oil and make them drier. Then they put in Epsom salts – it’s the worst thing you can do for dry skin.”

Regular foot care
It’s a good idea to have a regular foot care regimen at any age, he said.

“Obviously, clean them daily, especially between the toes. You can build up dead skin and tissue – a feeding ground for fungus. Think of it as toe-flossing,” he added. And apply lotion to your feet when you need to – at least once or twice a week. The right shoes are vital to foot health, he said.

“Wear the proper shoes for the occasion. Don’t wear flip-flops to hike,” for example.

In Colorado’s outdoorsy culture, walkers and hikers should have shoes suitable for those activities.

“Wear what’s comfortable for you and appropriate for the activity,” he said. “Some think a certain brand Is best, but as long as a shoe fits right it’s OK.”

The right size shoe
He recommends getting your feet measured at least once a year for the
correct size and fit.

“Your feet get wider and longer as you age,” he noted. “So don’t cram a size 9 foot into a size 8 shoe.” Cost isn’t necessarily the most important factor, he said.

“Our feet are our foundation, Montross said. “If your feet are off, it can make your ankle or back go off. I had one patient who, after his feet got better, his migraines stopped. Your feet can affect your whole body. If you start limping or favoring a foot, it can throw your whole body out of alignment.

“So take care of ‘em. They need to last you a lifetime.”

This article was originally published at: