Welcome ...

All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The geriatric gap: Our aging blind-spot We don’t understand what ‘growing old’ means

by: David Solie

It wasn’t the call. It wasn’t the flight. It wasn’t the hospital or even the startling news that his mother and father had been holding back information from him for over a year. With parents both in their late 70s, my friend Jeff knew there would come a day when their lifelong independence would be shaken by an unannounced change in health. Read the full article.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How a word can make us smile and take us back…

In February I posted Music Soothes the Soul and Takes Us Back… and the power of music and songs to trigger memories many years old. Just as music can take us back to different times in our life so can words.

Last week I walked into my favorite nail salon to get a mani/pedi and sitting there waiting, was an elderly woman and her middle aged daughter. I’m guessing that the woman was mid 80’s and the daughter late 50’s or early 60’s. As I was “soaking” I overheard the mom say to the daughter “when we leave here I want to go to Macy’s and get a housecoat.” I started to chuckle. The word housecoat immediately catapulted me back to my teen years when I would run down the stairs in my underwear (at that time underwear consisted of a bra, underpants, girdle, pettipants and a slip – don’t ask!) to iron a white oxford button down collared blouse to wear under my V-neck sweater with my pleated skirt. Now if you are in your late 50’s or early 60’s all of you are smiling and remembering this scene! As I would thunder down the stairs, past my dad who was sitting in “his chair,” he would call out to my mom, “Lil does this kid have a housecoat?” As I am writing this I am laughing out loud because the scene was always the same. My mother would answer,” yes, Bud she has a housecoat.” It wasn’t a robe or a bathrobe…it really was a housecoat. It had a collar and buttoned down the front…just like a coat. It was old lady-like so I never wanted to wear it.

Sitting there in the nail salon, hearing that woman use the word housecoat, brought back great memories of being a teenager. I was very fortunate to have a really great dad…my mom was good too, but not like my dad! All of my friends and their friends wanted to come to our house because my dad was funny and fun, but still the dad.

I hope this post will trigger a good and funny memory of your childhood. Please write and let me know what words might take you back in time.

Patricia Grace

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

They Don’t Want to Live With You, Either

Sometimes I think we all watched too many episodes of “The Waltons.” Remember? At bedtime, the lights blink out, one by one, in the old farmhouse. Goodnight, John-Boy. Goodnight, Jim-Bob. Goodnight to Mama and Daddy and, of special relevance to readers here, goodnight to Grandma and Grandpa.

Back then, the multigenerational family was the norm, we sigh. Read the full article on NYT New Old Age

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mindtweaks reviews Cognifit's New Personal Coach

Read the review of Cognifit by Mindtweaks and why they recommend CogniFit as one of the trusted standbys in the brain training field. Read the full review

Nursing homes morph into Independent Living Communities

Interesting article in the 3/22 Philadelphia Inquirer, Business Section, by staff writer Stacey Burling, "Getting a chance at life outside a nursing home."

With states mandating higher functioning nursing home residents be moved back into the community, nursing homes across the country are setting up independent communities. What is quite startling is the company highlighted in this article, owned/managed one of the worst nursing homes in PA. Why do I think this will be repeated across the country?

Now, according to a company spokesperson we are expected to believe that the quality of care for these folks living in an apartment with sensors and monitors on the resident and throughout the apartment, will somehow translate to a higher quality of life. Additionally, the monitors are expected to prompt the "senior housing employees" (one wonders if that employee needs any training or certification) to check on residents on a regular schedule. But not to worry, there is a community room where residents can gather and receive much needed socialization since they will not be interacting with a personal care aide or assistant.

The article goes on to state that many residents have multiple machines and equipment...Is this a disaster in the making?? I understand that low income families need alternatives for nursing home placement and that most folks would prefer being in their own apartment, however I wonder how the very folks that could not deliver good care in a confined setting, will do it remotely? We all know that Medicaid cannot continue to fund long term care in the current model but we must take care not to "throw the baby out with the bath water."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why Shop Around for Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Why do the majority of Medicare Insurance Recipients spend too much for their Medicare Supplement Insurance? It's simple, they don't shop around.

All Medicare Supplement Insurance Companies Offer the Same Plans.

The simple truth is that in most states, Medicare Supplements are standardized by government regulators in how they supplement your Medicare Insurance. What that means is that whether you get an AARP Insurance Medicare Plan or supplemental insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Loyal American, Mutual of Omaha or any other company that offers Medicare Supplemental Insurance, they are under the same requirements for what policies and provisions they are allowed to offer. The standardized supplemental insurance policies offered in most states are lettered A-L.

Though companies can choose which of these Medicare Supplement Insurance plans they wish to offer, the coverage’s for these standardized policies are the same from company to company. This is because they are standardized by regulators. However, though the coverage’s are the same, the prices differ dramatically from company to company.

As a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans affordable insurance to supplement Medicare is available to you through the Alliance for Retired Americans' Retiree Health Plan. The Retiree Health Plan Annual Open Enrollment period is underway and members can enroll now. Don't wait! The open enrollment period has been extended through April 30, 2009. During this period Medicare-eligible retirees and their spouses are guaranteed acceptance with no waiting periods regardless of pre-existing health conditions.

Visit http://www.araretireehealth.com for further details or call 1-866-298-9117 to receive your Free Retiree Health Information Kit and your open enrollment application.*

To become a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans and to enroll in this affordably priced Medicare supplemental program visit http://www.retiredamericans.org or call toll free 800-333-7212

*No agent will call you - everything is handled through the mail.

New CogniFit Personal Coach Brain Fitness Training Program Introduced

CogniFit®, Ltd., a leading producer of personalized brain fitness programs, today announced the release of CogniFit Personal Coach, an online brain fitness training program, at the Aging in America (ASA) Conference. CogniFit Personal Coach provides scientifically proven, personalized exercises for people who want to maintain their cognitive vitality. The program uses patented techniques to assess and enhance essential cognitive abilities and psychomotor skills. Read the full article

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Knowing about Forgetting".

This morning I couldn’t remember the street number of my house. My own house! Don’t panic, I thought, don’t struggle to remember it. Just go on with other things, and it’ll float to the surface. But it didn’t, so I opened the front door and read the street numbers aloud, trying to fix them in my brain...... Read the full article

Saturday, March 14, 2009

SilverGrace/Rx card…deal or dud?

As an individual consumer, you need to be more aware than ever of prescription medication price increases, and realize that there are ways you can reduce the impact of increasing prices and improve your chance of quality care.

1. Take control of your own health care

You are the ultimate decision maker for your own health care. While physicians prescribe and make recommendations for medications, you should always feel comfortable to ask questions. It is appropriate and reasonable to ask for less expensive medications. You have responsibility to participate in your own health care savings.

2. Ask the cost before you receive the service or medication

With insurance companies and HMO's still paying for the majority of health care including pharmacy cost in the US, many physicians and consumers continue overlook the cost of care. As we know, times have changed. Consumer behavior has to change as well. Health plans are paying less and medications cost more. Patients are expected to pay more for their prescriptions. It’s time for patients to speak up about quality, safety and cost of pharmaceuticals.

Large employers, Insurance Companies and HMO's have leveraged their position of size and strength to benefit their own interests. Their purchasing power has enabled them to negotiate substantial discounts with manufacturers and retail pharmacies alike. Instead of passing these saving on to their members they retain most of the benefit of the discounts to boost their own profit margins. Bottom line: Rx prices are going up and the consumer is paying more. The biggest losers are the uninsured, the senior with or without Medicare and the self-employer.

3. Gamesmanship at the pharmacy

Large retail pharmacy chains through contracts with health insurance companies and HMO’s, require you the consumer, to pay a minimum cost (even if the prescription drug retail price is less than your co-pay) that will insure themselves a higher profit margin. This is the “minimum prescription co-pay.” Make sure you are a player in the game…ask your pharmacy “will I save money by using my Aging with Grace/Rx discount card or is my prescription plan co-pay be less?”

4. Real life example, HUGE SAVINGS on prescriptions

A member recently purchased a 30 day supply of Tramadol. The retail cost was $22.93, her prescription benefit co-pay was $20.00. After she presented her Aging with Grace/RX discount card, she learned the cost using the card would be $10.90. By being proactive and asking the pharmacist for the retail price she was able to save $9.10.

As a consumer, you have the right to use your pharmaceutical card, or pay for the medication out of your own pocket by using the Aging with Grace/Rx discount card. In order to ensure that you are getting the best price possible, always ask what the price would be if you pay the cash price and use your discount card. If the cash price is less, then use your Aging with Grace/Rx discount card and SAVE MONEY. You always have the right to choose.

If you are paying for your own prescriptions, or your prescription co-pays continue to rise then you need the Aging with Grace/Rx card. This program gives you, the individual consumer, the same level of discounting that the HMO's and insurance companies enjoy. The Aging with Grace/Rx program has proven to be an effective tool in lowering the impact of high prescription costs.

Conclusion: The SilverGrace Rx discount card is a deal!

In these turbulent times when workplace benefits are being cut, jobs are being lost and savings depleted, we need to be well informed so we can make educated decisions to save money. Managing healthcare costs requires individual responsibility and accountability for the services and medications we utilize. Accepting that responsibility to save money will set a trend for our future health care needs. For those of us who pay our own way, the effort is worth the energy expended for the money saved!

SilverGrace/Rx providing the lowest prices possible on prescriptions at 54,000 pharmacies across the country! Download your card to start saving today.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Image of Aging

Images of aging can be either personal or those of many people in our society. If you believe that being old means being sick, disabled and living on a minimal income, you might believe these folks will cause a drain on medical and social services. However, if your image of older Americans is living in luxurious retirement communities, playing golf and looking tan and fit, you might overlook the fact that many elderly need financial support and safety net systems. The elderly just like other demographic groups are indeed diverse in terms of their mental and physical health, their economic resources and their social lives.

We all have images of ourselves. These images include both knowledge of our “actual age” and our "subjective age" (how old we feel). There are many older adults who feel "younger" at retirement then they did while working and there are those older adults whose young, subjective image has not been changed by illness or disability. If someone develops a disability in their teens, twenties or thirties, they do not think of themselves as being old because of their disability; similarly an older adult can separate illness or disability from how they feel inside.

Just like you have an image of yourself (i.e. friendly, fun-loving, open-minded) older adults also have a self-image. There is evidence that self-image is pretty stable throughout life. Older people may feel that they have changed in terms of health as they have gotten older, but they generally do not feel that they have changed in terms of personal characteristics. Do you think that if you talked to them about themselves their feelings would be that much different than yours?

Most of us have an image of the way we are perceived by those around us. Older people may feel they are well-treated or that they are poorly treated. Some older people feel that society has more than one attitude. For example, it is not uncommon for older people to feel that they have experienced a lack of respect, loss of authority and social standing.

Ageism, a type of discrimination that many people do not recognize, refers to the stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups because of their age. For example, ageism can include denying older people medical care because they are "too old to benefit," even though care could save lives or reduce disability. Some commonly held negative stereotypes about the elderly include: being old means being physically disabled; all elderly are alike; old people "lose their minds"; or the elderly are a burden, they don’t do anything worthwhile. These negative stereotypes can influence your opinions about the elderly and may cause you to consider the elderly different and separate from everyone else. This may cause some to think of the elderly as less worthy than other groups of people or cause us to feel afraid of our own aging. These negative thoughts cause some to behave differently towards the elderly such as ignoring the elderly; treating them as sickly and addled when they are not; excluding them from activities; or forcing them to retire before they want to.

Bringing generations together increases cooperation, interaction, and exchange between young and old. Studies of “intergenerational programs” show that participation not only improves the knowledge and attitudes of children and teenagers about the elderly, but they can also change behaviors. Young people who participate in these programs are more willing to share, help and cooperate with elderly persons. Both young and old benefit from the program’s success and find these programs immensely rewarding.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Generation X and Caregiving

I recently interviewed Ryan Malone, managing editor of Inside Assisted Living, on my radio program, Aging with Grace. I invited him to discuss his book By Families, For Families Guide to Assisted Living. During the course of the interview I couldn't help but be taken by his passion and commitment to make sure his mom received the best assisted living care that he could find and she could afford.

His primary goal was to move his mother closer to him after she had a devastating stroke. He researched, called and visited dozens of communities until he found the one that would provide her with environment that she would want and needed.

Generation X and/or Y has the reputation of being all about "me me me." My guess is there are many more young people like Ryan, at least I hope so.

Aging Gracefully in the Mirror is a Matter of the Mind

The reality of the mirror is very reflective of the person who has been afflicted with Alzheimer's. It has stolen their adulthood, the golden years, and the image reflected is indeed a stranger. For a person with Alzheimer's, time is a matter of mind. Read the full article by Christine Schonewolf, Director of Marketing for Aging with Grace

Monday, March 02, 2009

Weekly BlogTalkRadio

Join host Patricia Grace and her guest Ryan Malone, Managing Editor of "Inside Assisted Living" this evening, Monday,March 2, 2009 at 6:30 PM

In his groundbreaking book, Malone provides what web sites and bookstores have not: the combination of personal success with proven strategies that work. Regardless of your knowledge of assisted living today, you will go from novice to expert and sleep well knowing you made your decision “eyes wide open” and fully informed. Click here to listen to tonight's show

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