May 26, 2020
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
The importance of building meaningful relationships as we age Fifteen-year cancer survivor Moving forward feeling good Five must dos when aging alone Four ways our world is better Be part of the solution, not the problem, with Covid-19 Protect yourself from COVID-19: Stop smoking and vaping now When hard things happen Gum disease and diabetes during the pandemic The spirit of Alzheimer’s learning Part II Two kinds of Coronavirus anxiety Halloween pirate’s gold Fall risks are sometimes simple, yet fatal Is multi-generational living for you? Correcting this faulty belief about COVID-19 will save lives Natural disaster threats call for preparedness plan to protect seniors The spirit of Alzheimer’s learning  Winter sun safety: What to know about protecting yourself during colder months Tending to spiritual distress with aging and illness Blood pressure control a focus of American Heart month Home your own way March is colorectal cancer awareness month Safety at home for seniors Prepareness plan to protect seniors Covid-19 and Mother's Day How to prevent bad breath War on opioids in California Help families make time for seniors during the holiday season Helping seniors with vision and hearing impairments Holiday stress-busters for harried caregivers It’s what’s inside that counts! Dental emergencies Don’t wait until it hurts! Does spring mean allergy season for you? Top 10 products to help seniors stay home How to take Tylenol safely The role companionship plays in aging 7 Tips to reduce the stress of incontinence caregiving Five best pet types for seniors Time for the yearly flu vaccine The state of Alzheimer’s and caregiving in the U.S. Three types of grief a care partner may encounter Improving the state of aging in America Fight flu this season by getting immunized Confirm your preparedness plans for Seniors Did you get your flu shot? If not why not? A message from the heart Using anxiety to your advantage Youth, women and dementia The long-reaching impact of dementia Children’s dental health month Ten tips for healthy aging Planning for aging at home Thirty-four years as a dentist Tooth friendly Easter tips Feeding my hungry heart How to keep older adults cool during the heat of the day Invisible braces work wonders Prosthetic joints and dentistry Avoiding spooky smiles this Halloween How to keep an aging adult’s blood pressure in the green zone Mother's gum disease linked to infant’s death Giving thanks The increasingly important role of caregivers Ten things you can do now to protect your five senses as you age Wonder what it’s like to lose your senses? The difference between seasonal flu and a pandemic respiratory virus Are glasses enough? Spotting common vision problems in older adults Senate passes Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding October’s most celebrated event Our Feelings Come From Our Beliefs Making sense of the season for seniors Cultures differ on what makes a beautiful smile! How to have a better year Falling in love is easy, but staying in love is very special A confession Women in dentistry Three ways a senior can fund a home remodel Cannabis as medicine-Changing the face of aging May is skin cancer awareness month A brain is a reason to join the Alzheimer’s fight Recognizing and reporting elder abuse Dental technology- computers have changed our lives Create your personal Medicare account Understanding the aging brain Two ways to get your Medicare taken care of Are you stressed out? Seven ways seniors can interact with pets The joy of root canal therapy Lung cancer screening helps combat the #1 cancer killer in the nation Simple happiness hacks for caregivers Multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease Seniors and Diabetes What you need to know Let’s talk about guilt and the emotional journey of being a caregiver The wonders of a growth mindset Dealing with emotional storms Dealing with disappointment “Do this for me”: How to convince older loved ones to socially distance A new beginning How to know if you are in danger of compression fractures Psychology Today The Art of Resilience: I Have I Am…I Can The advantage of dental implants Too much of a good thing for seniors and the holidays What families’ caregivers need to know about Recommendations for screen time Resolutions for your oral health Super Bowl, Joe Montana and blood pressure Open heart surgery – Thoughts from the other side Chewing gum - Helpful or harmful? Five tips for a healthy smile I will– I should– I can– I’ll try Rightsizing for seniors doesn’t have to be painful The Joy of Sadness Human Touch: The role companionship plays in aging at home Becoming who we really want to be How to fail well Back to school with healthy teeth Five ways to manage caregiver guilt Senior dating – Mom’s new relationship is heating up... Should you be concerned? Aspirin relieves mild pain Fighting osteoporosis and preventing fall-related injuries Pets and seniors make the perfect pair Turn the page Anxiety: The real reason Mom won’t leave the house My prostate and thyroid cancer Oral piercings and your teeth Understanding senior care options Staying well and safe for the holidays Health habits for the new year New Year, new you: Practicing active aging in 2020 Spotting the signs of Alzheimer’s disease Sniffles and sneezes and fevers, oh my... The risk of isolation and loneliness from hearing loss Healthcare - this feeling has to change What the Coronavirus is teaching us COVID-19 update, What we know Covid -19  Walking in the wilderness Un-retiring in a changing economy Coping with the unpredictable life of caregiving Double duty tools: toothbrush and floss Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Tips for living with low vision  Keep your Medicare costs down The freedom and choice to again place at home Put dementia on the agenda for 2019 Free app shows what Medicare covers The reason “Four” is the magic number? Preventing tooth decay in children Laughter is the best medicine Sports mouth guards-keeping teeth safe  Help your senior loved one avoid preventable hospitalizations Tips for keeping calm in the midst of crisis  Five cybersecurity tips for older adults Preparing kids for first dental visits Dental treatment concerns with patients taking blood thinners Home Health Care vs. In-Home Care: What you need to know Three ways to lessen negative thinking Five ways our self-talk may be hurtful Is this Summer or Fall What can you do to help dad control his blood pressure? By this time you have learned... whether you’re 14 or 84… Controlling your holidays Your Medicare costs in 2020 Mind your mind Hints for a better life When we’re haunted by regret, we all have regrets. Some surprising discoveries on being optimistic Valentine’s Day befuddling First dental visit – Make it a good one! Unusual connection between your sense of taste and risk for disease Coronavirus, taking life for granted Tempted to go out? Here’s what family caregivers can do instead 4 ways to help Nurses during the Coronavirus Pandemic Amazing results with Arestin Navigating the aging journey Smoke and stress maintenance and recovery How to lower your surgery costs Know your pharmacist… Know your medicine as drug prices will jump in 2019 Influenza activity is increasing throughout California Show your kids’ teeth some love this Valentine’s Day! New life and stormy weather Your Medicare rights and protections Summer snacking and your child’s teeth Back to basics 10 summertime activities for seniors Three ways to boost your self-esteem Increasing West Nile Virus activity in Ca. Why are seniors targets for scams? Summer’s sun damages the skin Abscess gives warning 8 tips to minimize the behaviors of “Sundowning” Keeping your relationships fresh What are dental sealants? Suicide - Are there answers? Nothing is impossible Becoming optimistic in a chaotic world Entitlements - more money Your best Christmas gift? Suicide a growing epidemic What family caregivers need to know about Medicare changes Should you quit? Steps to help minimize wandering behavioral symptoms The Groundhog’s last plane ride Are you making yourself understood? Five tips to prepare for and reduce risk of illness in older adults Thriving in the new normal The impact of technology on vision loss Healthy eating habits can benefit you and your teeth How does the body heal? Apply or renew Covered Ca. Health insurance by Jan. 15 Guilt from holiday eating Toothbrush tips Three reasons for a root canal Seniors: Say no to “free” genetic tests Yoga for relaxation & healing What causes sensitive teeth to hurt All of us make mistakes  Heat and older adults Five tips to cope with caregiver anger Back to school health Real decisions and moderation Conscious Sedation Dentistry– No fear! Still time to change your Medicare health plan Dental emergencies can happen What Medicare does (and doesn’t) cover Weinstein, Sanders, Trump pleasing people? Rain is expected this week in NorCal, and I love gazing at it No Easter for America? Now We Get to Listen! Three gifts you can give yourself Don’t stress, clench or grind! Gratitude and positivity can inspire caregiver self-care Medicare helps seniors use opioids safely Is it elder abuse or neglect? Dental scanning technology improves dental care Using Medicare when on foreign land I slept in last Saturday! Always being bright may not be so bright Trying to save a knocked out permanent tooth Reduce senior fall risk Are glasses enough? Spotting common vision problems in older adults Kobe - preparing for shocking death Who will decide your death? Fear of losing loved ones may keep families from planning To vape or not to vape? What happens to our teeth and gums as we age? Reduce wear and tear As Autumn begins, a reminder flu season can hit seniors hard Overcoming fears surrounding End-of-Life care Important: women and periodontal health Americans unaware of potentially life-threatening skin cancer Sun protection tips for young children Some good news! Aging gracefully The better angels of our nature today Covid-19: We’ll find a way Cannabis symposium Sept. 19th The importance of immunization Returning home is bittersweet Kids who grind their teeth at night Covid-19 and churches shaking hands? Depression, heart disease, diabetes… Could it be low Vitamin D? Osteoporosis, osteonecrosis and dental health Living with Lupus Erythematosus Still time to change your Medicare health plan Teddies in the window How dentistry handles gastric reflux disease Use it or lose it- Muscle mass as you age  A free cheek swab test The value of calm in the midst of chaos Twice a victim Finding a path forward after an accident Use it or lose it- Muscle mass as you age  If it is not broken, don’t fix it! Managing your mental health with or without insurance coverage Why gardening is the most recommended exercise for seniors

Plan for where you want to age

By: Julie Ann Soukoulis
March 29, 2019

It’s a question many older adults begin to ask themselves: Should I stay in my longtime home or should I choose another place in which to age?

Whether it’s the memories of joy-filled holidays and family milestones or another allure, staying put is appealing for many. Research (conducted by Home Instead, Inc. franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network) reveals that most seniors do want to age at home. Ninety-four percent would like to continue to live in their own home, according to a survey of North American homeowners between the ages of 55 and 75. But only 28 percent have made a definite plan for where they will live as they age, according to the research.

When asked how they would feel if at some point they were no longer able to live in their home and didn’t want to leave, just over half (54 percent) of survey respondents said they would be heartbroken. However, that no longer necessarily means aging in their current home. In fact, one in four seniors plans to find a new home where they can age in place, the research revealed.

Planning is key, and everyone should feel empowered to create a plan of action that helps them realize their dreams. After all, we all want to remain in the driver’s seat as we grow older.

First, let’s better understand the issues of aging and what makes a home a potential mine field.

The Risks: mobility, balance, senses and memory

• Agility and mobility. Conditions such as arthritis can impair mobility. Stairs that were once easy to navigate with groceries and toddlers may now present a formidable challenge. Many stairways only allow for one handrail. A slip becomes all too easy.

• Balance. Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and other chronic conditions increase the risk for balance problems as well as falls on slippery floors and getting in and out of the bathtub.

• Eyesight. According to several studies, a 60-year-old needs at least three times more ambient light to see than a 20-year-old. Poor eyesight may lead to problems in the bathroom (with personal grooming and medication management) and in the bedroom (leading to tripping hazards).

• Memory. It’s estimated that at least half of adults over age 85 have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The effects of memory loss might make it difficult for an older adult to stay on a medication plan, remember to turn off stove burners or pay bills on time.

 As a result, many families will be faced with the question: Should I stay or should I go? It’s a question potentially so easy to avoid. Facing aging issues does not mean that a move from home is on the horizon, though. Even if it is, there are plenty of other options today’s seniors could pursue including independent living and continuing care communities.

Candid conversations: Begin today!

According to the Home Instead research, 66 percent of seniors believe their home is where they will be most comfortable physically and emotionally, and 53 percent believe they will stay healthier in their own home. Interestingly, 12 percent say nothing – such as mobility, cognitive or medical problems – could make them decide they cannot live in their own home as they age.

Candid conversations are the first step in answering the question of whether to stay or go. Starting the conversation early could be advantageous.

“When it comes to talking about living options, it is best practice to start early,” noted Home Instead Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate Lakelyn Hogan. “Talk to your adult children when you’re in your 50s and 60s, rather than when the need arises,” she said.

“Boomers will see their mom and dad struggle and the situation brings to light that the home is not always a friendly place to age,” explained Dan Bawden, who founded the national Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) program for the National Association of Home Builders in 2001. The program trains contractors, occupational therapists, physical therapists and other medical providers how to remodel homes for older adults. “So the sooner you have the talk, the better. It’s good to let loved ones know you’re thinking about them and have a plan in place. It’s much like having a will. It’s a blessing to families.”

“That means that candid conversations can begin from two vantage points,” Bawden added. “Adult children may say, ‘We need to talk about this.’ They see the need coming. Or the parents may start the conversation. It really is who thinks of it first. The best way to start is making the need for home modifications about somebody else,” Bawden explained.

“For example, ‘A friend from church is having similar problems at home. Let me tell you what happened to her. The family didn’t have a plan to install any safety features. The wife slipped in the tub and broke her hip. She really regretted not putting in grab rails sooner. It was an expensive mistake. I was thinking we should do some of these things in our home to prevent an accident like that from happening. If you’d like, Dad, we can bring in an occupational therapist or CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) professional, who could assess your home to identify the barriers or danger points.’ I use this ‘making it about others’ technique with my Boomer clients who are interested in remodeling their homes. Storytelling with examples is a great way to start the conversation.”

Conversation starters for adult children

“I know this big house is becoming more of a challenge for you, Mom. Why don’t we sit down and figure out a plan that makes it easier for you to maintain this house and stay home?”

“Dad, I have a special birthday gift for you. I’d like to hire someone to do a few things for you around the house, like vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms. It would be such an honor for me to give you a gift like this.”

“Mom, I wanted to show you this great article about all the gadgets that are available to help us in our homes. I’d like to try one out. Will you help too?”

“Mom and Dad, did you know that your friends Bob and Jane Wagner just remodeled their home? They did some really neat things like pulling out their bathtub and adding a walk-in shower. They invited us over to take a look. Let’s go!”

“Mom, I just heard that Angie slipped on the stairs at her house and broke her hip. I sure wouldn’t want that to happen to you. I’ve heard about some great railings we could have installed on your wall by the stairs. Can I look into that for you?”

Conversation starters for seniors

“I think there are some ways I can keep living here that will make you comfortable with the situation. Let’s work on that, OK?”

“Susan, I like living here and it’s very important to me to stay independent. Nevertheless, I have been having problems with two things: paying my bills and keeping my medications straight. Will you help me figure this out?”

“You know, son, I want to stay at home for as long as possible. The neighbors have a contractor who made some minor improvements to their house to make it safer. I’ve asked him to stop by. You’re welcome to sit in on his visit if you’d like!”

“Grandson Ted is so good around the house. I know he’s busy with school, but could he stop by for about an hour next week and help me replace the lightbulbs that are too high for me to reach? I’d love to catch up with what’s going on in his life as well. I’ll make his favorite cookies!”

“It seems like the doctor’s office adds a new medication every time I visit. I want to make sure I keep these all straight. I know there are some great medication management tools out there. Can you or someone else in the family help me find one that would work for me?”

 It’s important to include others in the conversations as well, noted Expert Meaghan Walls, President and CEO of Assistology, Removing Barriers Through Innovative AT Solutions. “Caregivers, home health aides, therapists, medical professionals and assistive technology specialists all offer input and help identify the best options in home medication needs, medical equipment and assistive technology.” For more information, check out: Or phone my office and request a free  40/70 booklet. We can mail one out to you to guide you through these conversations.

Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her own two parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, to educate and encourage seniors & caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern?  She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime