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Continuing Care Retirement Communities and future Trends!

November 12th, 2014

CCRC’s (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) for seniors number about 1,900 in the United States. The vast majority (80%) are operated by not-for-profit organizations. These senior communities offer an array of housing and services. They provide senior services in three areas: 1) Independent living; 2) Assisted living; and, 3) Skilled care.

Typically housing for active and independent seniors (starting at age 55 or in some cases age 62) consist of apartments, condo’s, single family homes, or duplexes with basic maintenance and lifestyle programs featured. Assisted living, generally in a congregate apartment setting, with assistance with ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) is provided and available on a 24 hour basis. Skilled long-term (nursing home) and rehabilitation, completes the three basics prongs of a CCRC. Many CCRC’s are now offering Home Health services to their communities and beyond to the general public. LeadingAge is the nation’s largest not-for-profit Senior health care and retirement housing association. LeadingAge points out that the typical array of services, programs and amenities offered by CCRC’s include:
• Social interaction – home-based support network and social programs for aging in place
• New lifestyle – freedom, choice and relaxation
• Activities and Programs – preventive, holistic care
• Wellness programs – including on-site fitness equipment and programs
• Peace of Mind – health and social well-being ensures that the concerns of the older adults and their families are met
• Dining Options – from snack bars to complete meals provide wellness and health benefits
• Transportation – available for physician visits, religious services, shopping, etc.
• Low maintenance lifestyle – sheds homeowner concerns about maintaining their own home
• Security – provides older adults and their families with peace-of-mind that they are in a safe environment and not ‘home alone’

Most CCRC’s began their lives in the 1970’s and beyond. Now with the impact of a more ‘mature’ industry and the changing demands and needs of their newer constituency of ‘Baby Boomers,’ current larger CCRC’s are considering new trends for the future. In the past, it was assumed residents would start out in their independent apartments, then eventually move to assisted living venues, and then a sense of the inevitable nursing home admission. Today . . .’not so much!’

Most CCRC residents strongly resist moving from unit to unit depending on their health. They are demanding to stay and have necessary services brought to them! Thus the rise in CCRC’s establishing Home Health and Hospice agencies! The nursing, rehabilitation, and supportive services come to the resident’s door! Definitely a major change from the inception of the early CCRC’s and their original design!

What are some of the other CCRC trends for the future? According to the latest LeadingAge/Ziegler Top 100 report the nation’s largest CCRC’s tend to be moving in the direction of:
• Reducing their number of skilled licensed nursing home beds. The national trend is for the demand of such beds by consumers to be dwindling. Options as assisted living and utilization of home and community based services, in many cases, is replacing the demand for traditional nursing home beds.
Many traditional nursing homes receive much of their payment through Medicaid. This entitlement program woefully underfunds the costs for actual resident care, making it nearly unviable for nursing home’s to exist into the future.
• Increasing the number of Transitional Care / Rehabilitation beds. Short term rehabilitation and discharge back home is the wave of the future, as nursing home’s convert services to attract Medicare subsidized patients through a heavy rehabilitation focus.

• Increasing assisted living Memory Care beds and services. In the past decade, Alzheimer’s disease has increased 68%! As the average age of US citizen increases, so does the likelihood of attaining Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. The demand for professional care and programming in markedly increasing.

• Increasing Independent senior housing and services. While in general about 10% of seniors consider living in active lifestyle communities, it is estimated that number will double in the near future!

CCRC’s are continually changing and morphing to meet the demands of the demanding Baby Boomers of the future!
-end-

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.