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Advocacy . . . the responsibility of every American!

September 19th, 2014

What is advocacy? What was the last cause in which you advocated? For a definition of advocacy, let’s go to the Merriam Webster dictionary were it reports that advocacy is ‘The act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.’ The latest political poles indicate dissatisfaction, on a broad scale, on a broad number of issues, such as effectiveness of our current congress; the international leadership skills of our president; whether or not health care reform promises have been met; the plight of the middle class; immigration reform; entitlement programs; recent decisions of the Supreme Court; national defense; and mid-term elections.
Cedar Community has continual concerns over: Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements that are woefully inadequate to support the high level of quality our residents/patients need and deserve; the onerous of over regulated nature of annual nursing home surveys by the government, based on extremely outdated rules and codes; the lack of input health care professional and providers have, as lawyers and politicians make medical decisions affecting the lives of millions; the ultimate result of the new ACO (Accountable Care Organization) ‘bundled payment programs’ for nursing homes and home health operations; etc. etc.
Somehow, in essence, you and I have allowed for these things to occur. OK, that’s maybe a stretch, but our advocacy inactivity, our unwillingness to speak up makes us at least a little culpable.
As the ‘election’ season heats up (both mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016), it’s time we consider a more active role as citizen advocates! Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that caused it.” Our collective consciousness has to change to drive the nation forward in a more positive and productive way. Our values need to be better reflected by our elected officials and their actions.
You and I do witness the loud and brash screeching of some when the TV cameras are turned on, but there is a better and more effective way of advocacy. We really can speak up . . . without being rebellious or enmeshed, neither reactionary nor hateful. A simple phone call, a concise letter, and pointed e-mail to our elected officials, kindly, yet strongly stating our thoughtful point of view can have amazing results.
So, what does Cedar Community do about advocacy? Our Board members, our administrative council members, our nursing leaders, and key managers receive numerous ‘For Your Action’ notifications by our LeadingAge association requesting contacting both state and federal legislators to support our causes. Several of the Adm. Council members annually visit the state capitol in Madison and federal legislative offices in Washington DC, meeting with our elected officials, explaining our organization, and the need to support reform to enhance the lives of the individuals we serve.
What are the best tips for effective advocacy? A) Know the facts; B) Use the facts; C) Have a clear message; D) Create and nurture the relationship between you and the elected official; E) Engage others using letters, social media, and phone calls; F) Make your voice heard, especially by making personal visits; G) Say ‘Thank you!’ Keep meetings short, concise and show your appreciation.
How do I know who represents me and how do I contact that person? Pretty easy. . . there are listings posted at the library, in the newspaper editorial sections, and in simple internet searches.
The role of a U.S. citizen is to vote and to advocate.

16 Helpful Apps for Seniors

August 6th, 2014

Written By: Guest Contributor – Dec• 10•13 (Re-printed with permission from a article published in “Social Media Scoop for Seniors.”

Not too early to start your holiday shopping? Actually, not really! Gifts should be practical and thoughtful because you want the person receiving the gift to know you spent time thinking about what to get them. If you are having a difficult time thinking of the perfect gift, then look no further. Here are 16 helpful apps (just for seniors), which will make their lives a whole lot easier.

16 Helpful Apps for Seniors:

These apps are broken down into a few different categories, ranging from health to entertainment. Some of the apps are for iPhones and some are for iPads, so note which ones you’re buying beforehand.
5 Health Apps
These apps might be the most important ones around to download, since they can possibly help save a life.
HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker
iPhone — $0.99
iPad — $2.99
Easily record your blood pressure, your resting heart rate and your weight, and you’ll be able to track it on a daily basis and over time.

Instant Heart Rate (iPhone) – FREE
This app uses your iPhone’s camera to detect your pulse from your fingertip, which is similar to what pulse oximeters already use.
Pillboxie (iPad and iPhone) – $0.99
Remembering you have to take your medication is important – but just as important is remembering, which medications you have to take at which times. You can even customize your meds with different combinations of med types and colors.

WebMD
iPhone – Free
iPad — Free
Use WebMD’s Symptom Checker to help what your potential issues might be, and this app can also work as a handy guide for medical emergencies.

My Medical for iPad
iPhone – $3.99
iPad — $3.99
Keep all of your family’s medical information and medical history in one spot, for quick access. Track blood tests and X-rays, and have the ability to back the information up to your computer, too.
4 Helping Hands Apps
Here’s a handful of apps that should make life a little easier.
EyeReader (iPhone) – $1.99
Hold your iPhone over a book or some paperwork, and your phone turns into a magnifying glass, with a light to help brighten the text.

BigNames (iPhone) – $1.99
Browse through the names and numbers in your contact list much easier, with large, high-contrast text that helps those with some issues with small text.
Silver Surf (iPad) – FREE
Blows up the navigation buttons and makes it easier for older users with less dexterity in their fingers than most people. It also has an Interactive Text Zoom slider that enlarges text up to 200 percent.
Park’n’Forget (iPhone) – $0.99

Never forget where you parked your car again! Input what floor you’re on and what aisle or spot, and you’ll never roam the parking garage again. It also has a convenient “Parking Meter” timer, that alerts you when you’re parking meter is about to expire.

4 Free Entertainment Apps
The iPhone and iPad are practical, no doubt, but there also should be some play time involved, too!
Clevermind (iPad) – Free
This is a great app to help people dealing with cognitive impairments that come with problems associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. From quizzes and games, to big buttons, voice command controls and a calendar interface.
Lumosity (iPhone) – Free
Keep your mind sharp with some of the best mind games around, designed by neuroscientists working to enhance memory, attention and other skills.

Yesterday USA (iPhone and iPad) – Free
Great Internet radio app that broadcasts “old-time radio shows” all day, every day. Harken back to yesteryear with the help of today’s technology.
Pandora (iPad and iPhone) – Free
By typing in any artist, band or song, users will be able to listen to thousands of songs in that same genre. Then they can upvote or downvote each song, which helps Pandora fine-tune which songs you prefer to hear for each channel.
3 Free News & Social Apps
These apps will help keep everyone updated on things they need to know, like what’s happening in the world out there, and what’s happening with your friends and family.
FlipBoard
iPhone – Free
iPad — Free
This is the greatest invention since the invention of social media! Connect this app with all of your social media accounts, and connect it with some of the best news and content sites that interest you. Then watch it turn everything into a digital magazine, in which you “flip” the pages and see everything set up like a magazine, including Facebook posts and tweets.

The Weather Channel (iPhone) — Free
Get the weather report for whichever city you need right now, or every hour, or see what it’s going to look like over the weekend, or over the next 10 days.
Skype
iPhone – Free
iPad — Free
What’s better than just talking with your friends and family over the phone? How about talking to them – and seeing them — on a video conference!?! You will never be surprised by how much your grandchildren have changed again!

Hopefully, you found several apps that you found both interesting and entertaining. But most of all, we hope you found some helpful apps for seniors that make things easier in 2014.

“The Cottages at Cedar Run” – Assisted Living for Memory Care

May 23rd, 2014

Do you know that there is an inherent problem for nearly all assisted living Memory Care facilities throughout the nation? The problem? The design of the building!

The very typical assisted living Memory Care facility, while attractive, even charming to the undiscerning eye, has inherent design flaws that actually disrupts the lives of the residents these facilities were meant to serve.

Design flaws include things like:
1) Hallways intersecting with other hallways creating ‘way finding’ issues {read: ‘confusion’ for residents and others}.
2) Large carport entry ways with glass sliding doors so as staff and visitors come and go, residents are subliminally reminded they cannot leave.
3) Small or enclosed courtyards or those with prominent fences, again subliminally reminding residents their freedom is severely restricted by virtually being penned in.
4) Lighting which is designed to please the eye of staff and family, but not nearly bright enough for the eye of the senior resident. Also, lighting levels tend to vary greatly throughout the day and night. This actually may promote falls and disorientation.
5) Individual resident rooms are not discernibly different in appearance, again inviting ‘confusion’ for residents. It is normal for resident rooms to be identified with simple numbers and possibly with small ‘memory boxes’ featuring ‘miniaturized’ representation of the occupant’s career or interests. A much better resident room ‘identifier’ alternative would be a ‘memorable’ room entrance with a place for a ‘full life sized’ example of the resident’s career or interests.
6) While resident rooms are a wonderful place for comfort and relaxation, building designs tend to promote a sedentary lifestyle by providing libraries and lounges as key focal points, but do little to promote subliminal cueing for physical and mental activity / stimulation! A better design is to have an obvious focus for residents exiting their rooms on activities and activity areas promoting physical, and cognitive stimulation.

So is there an example of a ‘template’ of a far better assisted living Memory Care facility that includes all these design features? YES! Cedar Community in West Bend, Wisconsin is about to open a great example. Its’ called “The Cottages at Cedar Run” and you can ‘tour’ it in a 3D video display! Simply go to www.cedarcommunity.org and ‘click’ on [The Cottages].