• May 04, 2015
  • 0

We Have Your Pets Covered Too: Introducing EQUIPAWS PET SERVICES:

Did you know that more than half of all households have at least one pet? If you or a parent live in Miami (Downtown Miami to Cutler Bay) - and have a pet, then you’ll be happy to learn about Equipaws Pet Services. Flavia and Frankie Berti offer a vast array of services that include professional pet sitting, dog walking and running, and boarding while you’re out of town, either your own home or in a setting just like it. They also provide transportation services to the vet, petstore. or groomer.

One of the things I like most about them and why I'm so thrilled to welcome them to our network of service providers, is that they take the care and safety of ours pets as seriously and as lovingingly as we do—they know our pets are members of our family. Equally so--- they treat the safety and care of their clients with the highest priority. They conduct backgrounds checks and spend time getting to know all their employees.

Their services fill a huge need. The one thing that we can always count as we and/or our parents age is that unplanned events, appointments, and challenges occur without warning. And when these events take place, our dogs still must get out  to do their business and get their exercise. Flavia and Frankie to the rescue.

The process is easyy: you simply a schedule an in-home interview—where they can introduce themselves to you and your pet and learn where you keep the pet supplies, and other particiulars about your pet. That way when you have the need for their services, you simply have to call. It’s requires very little planning ahead. Your pet will welcome them with purrs and licks. 

They're very active on Facebook and Instagram—so when you’re not with your dog---you can still see them--- and witness, first-hand all the fun they’re having. For full disclosure---I use Equipaws services for my own dog for whom nothing is too good! It gives me the peace of mind I need when I am at a comference or out of town--- I love viewing the photos of him that they post. It's the next best thing to being there.

To learn more about their services, you can view their listing in our directory, visit their website- or follow them on Facebook or Instagram—You’ll be glad you did! You won’t be able to help but smile!

  • May 04, 2015
  • 0

GreyMatters: A Great Way To Share Memories With Older Family Members

If our childhood friend "Old McDonald" ran the iTunes store instead of his farm, he'd probably sing, "Here an app, there an app, everywhere an app-app!"  Today, there are hundreds of great Apple and Android applications that you can download for a better lifestyle.

In my ongoing search for great applications and other resources for seniors and caregivers, I ran across GreyMatters. It's an exciting and interactive free iPad app that that makes it easy to share memories and stories with family members suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

Offered by GreyMatters LLC, this app is basically an interactive life storybook that includes preloaded music from past decades, memory games. It lets you add personal family photos with easy-to-read text, and can bring a big smile and a long-lost "spark of life" to seniors who spend their days lost in their own worlds.

I can tell you first hand that communicating is one of the most difficult aspects of caring for a parent with dementia. But several years ago, I realized that  sharing memories over family photos was one of the easiest and most fulfilling ways for me to communicate with my father who had dementia.

We had some good laughs together as he told me stories prompted by pictures in his own high school yearbook, and we chuckled at the fashions and hairstyles in my yearbooks from the '70s. Those times together were some of my favorite memories of my dad in his last years.

Now, GreyMatters makes it easy for you to connect with an aging family member with memory issues. It gives you a wide variety of communication tools, so you can try different ways to break through. You can also record reminders for your loved one, or answers to their most common questions.

With GreyMatters, you can load your tablet with your own photos or videos from the past or the present. You could also play a game of memory cards, helping your senior find matching photos of Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, or other celebrities from that era.  The tablet screen is big enough for a senior with vision problems, but light enough to fit in your purse.

You can also create a custom music playlist from your iTunes library or take advantage of pre-loaded songs from the 1940s and '50s that are bound to strike a chord with an aging relative. Maybe you could sing along together – but don't be surprised if your senior can remember the words to those old standards better than you can!

By letting you create a personalized digital "scrapbook," GreyMatters is providing a wonderful service to families all over the country. I encourage you to download this app, and share your experiences with me.

  • May 06, 2015
  • 1

Protecting Your Parents (and Yourself) From Identity Thieves

Identity thieves and other criminals often prey on aging seniors. They know that someone who is a bit confused or forgetful may be persuaded to provide information about their bank account, Social Security number (SSN), date of birth or other private information. But identity theft is a serious problem for people of all ages, and knowing how to respond is important for you as well as your aging parent.

I myself was the victim of identity theft in April when I learned that someone else had used my SSN to submit an income tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – presumably for a big refund that would be deposited in someone else's account.

What ensued was a full day of waiting on hold, filing reports, and learning a lot more about the realities of identity theft.  I would like to share my experience so you can learn from a "real-world" situation.

After pouring myself a cup of coffee that morning, I dialed the IRS, listened to their list of confusing prompts and then waited for more than 45 minutes before being "disconnected." The same thing happened when I dialed in a second and third time. But without any assistance from the IRS and a little luck, I was able to piece together what to do.

While on hold I emailed a money manager that I work with who told me about an Identity Theft Affidavit (form 14039) that you can find on the IRS website (www.irs.gov).  I downloaded the form, filled it out and attached it to my tax return, which I filed manually, by snail mail, rather than electronically, the following day.

Once this form is submitted to the IRS, you will receive a PIN number that you must include on all tax submissions in the future in order to file your taxes. Unlike many tax forms, you can complete this yourself. You can also give it to the accountant who prepares your tax return. If you have questions about this I suggest you speak with an Accountant.

As luck would have it, I was checking my Twitter feed while on hold with the IRS and saw that Jonelle Marte, a financial blogger and reporter for the Washington Post  had just posted an article, “Report cites a second blow for identity theft victims: Long waits from the IRS.” She noted that “only 40% of callers will get through to an agent, and it was clear I was NOT going to be one of them.

So, I quickly emailed Ms. Marte, who responded right away with some helpful advice. (By the way, her well written, easy-to-read blog is full of useful financial information.) She told me three things I should do that day:

            1. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to place a “fraud alert” on my credit records. This will help prevent a downgrade in your credit rating, but it also means that you cannot apply for credit within at least 90 days. Once you place the alert with one of the companies, they will alert the other two companies. You will receive a notification from them with a "code" to allow you to get a free credit report to make sure the fraud has not gone "deeper" than what was initially identified.

            2. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.com or by using the FTC Identify Hotline at 1-877-438-4338-- Their website contains a lot of helpful information.

            3. File a report with your local police department, which may have a complaint form that you can download

As extra precaution, and in the event that the identity theft was more than just for my taxes, I went to my banks and notified them, so that no one could apply for credit in my name or withdraw my money.

Fortunately, when identity theft involves filing a fake tax return, it usually doesn't impact your credit cards, but remains confined to the taxes. Nonetheless, this experience has made me protect myself and now have engaged the services of a company that will protect me from ID and Credit Fraud. (this will be the subject of another post!!).

But you should know that you will have to navigate this process on your own – or on behalf of your aging family member – because the IRS provides no assistance.  Also, let your parents know that the IRS will never contact them by telephone.  In fact, IRS impersonators have been know to call people and convince them that they need to pay their taxes right then and there. Beware of this scam!

Nearly one month later, I am starting the entire follow up process. I’ll keep you posted about what happens.  Because we can all learn from each other, I would be interested in hearing your comments about other personal experiences with identity theft.  It's a very serious problem for everyone.

  • August 20, 2015
  • 0

The Residences: A New Assisted Living Facility In Miami

If you or your parents are considering moving to an assisted living facility (ALF), you’ll want to add The Residences in West Kendall to your list of places to check out. It’s owned and operated by United HomeCare, a non-profit home health and community care organization in MIami-Dade County and it's located right next to the West Baptist Kendall Hospital. I went to see it for myself and met with the executive director. Here’s what I learned:

  • It has a capacity for 150 residents and is expected to open in the next few weeks.
  • They plan to accept some medicaid residents in semi-private accomodations.
  • There are 122 studio and one-bedroom units in addition to a 15 room memory care unit.
  • The dining room features table service with meals prepared by a gourmet chef (I sampled some of her dishes and I have to say they were excellent).
  • Their monthly fees include laundry, transportation, telephone, WiFI, daily housekeeping services and other activities.
  • Residents who live independently but need a little assistance at night with things like medications or turning down their beds receive this help without additional charges.
I was impressed with the chief administrator, Maria Torre who told me that her main goal is to operate the facility “like a first class hotel.” And, as the first residents move in, she hopes to be able to assign rooms in a way that places like-minded people near each other (perhaps bridge players in one corridor and garden enthusiasts in another).
 
It’s a lovely looking facility that’s light and bright with lots of artwork, with gardens and entertaining spaces planned for the building’s exterior.
 
If you or a family member have been thinking about moving to an ALF,  you should schedule a visit and see if it's a good fit.  You won’t know until you spend some time there, enjoy a meal, talk to other residents or prospective residents and “try it on.” 
 
I’d love to know your opinion about The Residences if you do visit. Email me at nancy@senioritymatters.com and let me know what you think. For more details about The Residences, here’s a link to their website.

Fifty: It Is NOT The New Thirty

When author and editor Lorraine C. Ladish turned 50, her friends congratulated – and consoled - her. But when someone tried to comfort her with the oft-repeated phrase “Don’t worry, 50 is the new 30,” she took offense.

“Fifty is not the new 30, or the new 40. It´s the new 50, and that´s a great thing! If it really were the new 30 or 40, I´d probably be pining to have another baby. And then when my mid-life kid turned 20, I´d be a good old 70. Now please don´t tell me that life starts at 70,” she writes on her website, Viva Fifty.

Her witty website was created as a bilingual and multicultural community to share the joys of midlife. “My hope is that we can inspire and empower one another to thrive in health and happiness,” she writes.

The website features weekly articles and posts on everything from beauty, travel, and health issues to reviews of products. Here, you’ll discover that 50 is not too old for DIY projects, learn how to choose the best eyeglass frames, find the best spots for a getaway – even how to delve into dating.

Want to share your ideas? She’s inviting writers, bloggers and readers to offer their stories and thoughts on how to live life to the fullest. After all, we’re all in this together. Or we should be.

“I promise we’ll do our best to make you feel at home and help you enrich your life, and more importantly, to give you a voice,”  writes Ladish, who quips that she “can still look stunning in a tight, sassy red dress (with only the best body-sculpting shape-wear underneath, that is).”

Ready to learn more? Visit www.vivafifty.com

  • October 27, 2015
  • 0

Meet Angela Colley and Make Your Home A Safe Place

Angela Colley is on a mission. She determined to make it safe for seniors to stay at home, one residence at a time.

As a certified Aging in Place Specialist, she has the expertise to design safe, secure – and stunning – homes. She’s takes care of daunting details those of us with aging parents worry about. And, her consultations offer in-depth suggestions on how to make your parents’ home safer – and give you peace of mind.

“I'm passionate about providing accessible freedom for my clients in their own homes. I work closely with all my clients and their families to design a living space that promotes their independence,” she notes on her website. “I work only with quality contractors and coordinate their efforts to ensure that the home project is completed in the highest quality, on budget, and with a minimum of stress.”

Angela holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and is a member of the National Association of Home Builders and the American Society of Interior Designers. She also helped transform an Extreme Homemaker Home.

She’s worked with clients throughout Broward and Miami Dade counties, developing long-term relationships with many of them while providing them a home, sweet (and safe) home. 

For more information: check out her listing in the Seniority Matters Directory or visit her website,   http://acstylesdesigns.com/services/accessible-design.

 

  • December 03, 2015
  • 0

And Now For Some.....Bling---- Introducing Glam Squad

If you live in Miami, New York CIty, or Los Angeles you're in luck.  We’ve got just the ticket for those in need of a little glam (and who isn’t?). Glamsquad to the rescue. This new service – we like to think of it as the Uber for home beauty – will dispatch licensed, talented and vibrant beauty professionals to your door. Need your hair blown out before a big event?  A makeover for the new year? A professional meeting?  Or how about some well-deserved “me” time?

It also makes a great Holiday or Mother's Day gift for those who miss those mother-daughter days out with Mom who isn’t so mobile these days. Once you set up the app, the company will take care of the rest. They’ll arrive with everything needed for hairstyles ranging from an updo to a wavy style. And, the high-quality services are prepaid, making the experience even more relaxing. 

The personalized, one-on-one consultations offer clients a celeb experience (it will be all about you). The team “is hand-picked and expertly trained, undergoing extensive education and character assessment to guarantee consistent, high-quality results and a positive stylist experience with every appointment,” according to its website.    

Among the styles: Icon, Bronzed Beauty and Dreamer.

“We are a convenient and high quality experience delivered to your home, hotel, office or wherever you may be.  Our clients use us for all sorts of reasons - personal, professional, events, etc.,” notes Drew Lipsher, the company’s Chief Revenue Officer.

Ready for some bling? Visit glamsquad.com and you’ll be sitting pretty.

If you don't live in these three areas, stay tuned... hopefully Glamsquad will come to your home, soon!

 

  • December 10, 2015
  • 0

Let’s Remember Our Older Relatives, Friends And Neighbors This Holiday Season--- And Always

I love this message from the Alliance For Aging (Department of Elder Affairs)--

Although popular culture is not openly aware about this, older adults are generally wiser than most people.  The wisdom of older people is sometimes not obvious, but when we get the opportunity to run something by them, we generally learn something essential.  People in their seventies, eighties and older have lived through some of the most important historical events that others can only imagine, not to mention growing older, illnesses and personal losses. Most have not only survived a very long time, they have prospered and contributed vastly to all of humanity, through their intelligence, caring and their love.  During the holiday season, be it Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza, and regardless of where you live, be kind to older adults.  Play it forward.

Thank you Alina Becker, Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator, for sharing this important message to me. You can click here to learn more by visiting their website. 

 

 

Prevent Elder Abuse, Show you care! If you suspect abuse, please report it to:

1(800)96-ABUSE (22873)

 

 

  • February 16, 2016
  • 0

A Different Take On Caregiving

Finding a competent, compassionate caregiver can be stressful. Who can you trust when you can’t be there for your loved one?

For those who want to use a private caregiver, you'll be happy to learn about and meet Carespotter, a company that screens private caregivers with a tenacity that’s so important for this endeavor. Its five­ step screening process includes an intensive background check. The company accepts only experienced, exceptional caregivers ­ and they must have worked in a hospital, assisted living facility, homecare agency or directly with seniors.

“We also do a situational phone interview where we look for professionalism, technical ability and compassion,” says founder Darren Wendroff. “Caregivers should have a level 2 background check if they've worked in a professional setting. They must also pass a level 1 background check (SSN/Identify verification, national criminal background check, county background check and national sex offender check).”

Just how tough is the vetting process? CareSpotter only approves about 50 percent of applicants. To make things even easier for clients to find a compatible caregiver, the company will soon include two reference contacts with testimonials and the ability to conduct a video interview with prospective caregivers via Skype.

“We also insure and bond the caregiver if the family pays the caregiver through our platform, and of course we help with payroll taxes and payments as well,” notes Wendroff.

While you should take comfort in Carespotter's attention to screening details, I strongly urge you to do your own due dilligence as well. Make sure they're licensed, bonded, and insured, feel free to ask for references- and feel comfortable in doing a personal background check. 

Interested? Check out their website.

 

  • April 08, 2016
  • 0

Stay Connected: Technology Will Impact How We Age

I was thrilled to be used as a resource for a recent article by Ana Veciana-Suarez in the Miami Herald on the impact of technology on us as we age.  The article, aptly titled "Technology Will Change How And Where We Age, stresses the importance of staying connected.

Thanks Ana!

If you missed it, take a look. You'll be glad you did.

  • June 29, 2016
  • 0

Hospice Care in South Florida

I receive a lot of inquiries about Hospice so I thought a quick post was in order.

There are many misconceptions about Hospice and what it is and what it does. Hospice addresses the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of dying patients and their families. A team of interdisciplinary experts work together to provide palliative care, with the goal of making the patient as comfortable and pain-free as is possible during their remaining days, in their own home if possible. It's an option to anyone who has been determined by their physician to be terminally ill and who has six months or less to live. Many families mistakenly believe that it is only a resource to be used for the very last days or weeks of the patient’s life. That is unfortunate because they are not taking advantage of the many benefits it offers. 

Under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, all expenses associated with Hospice care, including a hospital bed if needed, medical equipment and other supplie,s are covered under the Hospice benefit. The patient must sign a form that states that they are choosing Hospice over other forms of medicare-covered benefits to treat their terminal illness. However, when it comes to coverage of prescription drug expenses, as explained in Medicare’s latest policy statement (October, 2015) the “medicare hospice benefit covers only drugs and biologicals used primarily for the relief of pain and symptom control for the terminal illness and related conditions.” It also states that “the Medicare hospice benefit does not pay for services that are curative in nature.”

I've written about Hospice in an Ask Nancy column. In addition, please check the resource section of this website to learn of some the different hospice organizations available here in south Florida 

I'm very excited to learn about Vitas Healthcare's new Residential Hospice Facility in Delray Beach (Palm Beach County, just North of Boca Raton). It's the first hospice inpatient unit that the company has built from the ground up.  The 14,000 square foot facility houses eight beds in a modern, home-like environment that includes a spacious family room and kitchen, a meditation room, and a spa area for patient services. It's on 2.2 acres that are fully landscaped with more than 1,700 native Florida plants, creating a park-like environment that overlooks a tranquility pond. The facility accepts 24-hour direct admissions of high-acuity patients referred by doctors and hospitals throughout Palm Beach. The facility will serve approximately 550 patients each year. 

For more information on Hospice Care, ask your physician or other healthcare provider. Also please visit the website of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. 

  • August 11, 2016
  • 0

Tips for Visiting Parents In Long Term Care Facilities and Other Good Caregiving Tips

The Association of Long Term Care Planning (ALTCP.org) has put together a list of tips for visiting parents in Long Term Care Facilities.  Their list was generated by 20 "experts" in the field and I'm thrilled to be part of this group. The tips range from communicating with your family member, to understanding the nuts and bolts of the facility. I think you'll find each and every tip informative and valuable. While some pertain to a solely residential facility setting, others are just great general caregiving tips as well.

Among them:

  • When visiting a family member, space out your visits and vary your arrival times.
  • Pay special attention to verbal cues, body language, posture and gestures.
  • Come as often as possible and stay for a minimum of an hour.
  • Be sensitive to where they are that day-emotionally, physically and mentally, and go with the flow.
  • It's less about what we as family members want, and more about how our loved ones feel.
  • Don't quiz them about the events of the day, just enjoy the moment.
  • Stay in the moment, don't try to solve the problems of the past.

Here's a link to the article from the Assocation's Website. 

Let me know which tips you find the most helpful.

 

Pages

Recent Posts

Keeping Your New Year Resolutions With The "New Years Shuffle"

Every year I make New Years' Resolutions, and every year I come back to this 2010 article from The Wall... Read more


CHEFS for SENIORS: Let your own personal chef do all the work

Imagine having just the meals you want, prepared just the way you like, without having to do any of the... Read more