Mandated reporters have an important role to play

Mandated reporters have an important role to play

Not long ago I received a call from some friends who were concerned about their elderly neighbor. The neighbor (I will call him Bob) was discovered by a friend. Bob had fallen in his home and was unable to get up.

Paramedics were called to take Bob to the hospital.

As the paramedics arrived at his home, some of the neighbors rushed over. They could not help but notice the interior of his house was full of boxes, papers and garbage piled up to the ceiling. There was a small path for Bob to move around the house, but the condition of the home was both dangerous and unsanitary.

Bob never returned home from his hospital stay and the neighbors grew concerned. They noticed someone coming in and out of Bob’s house and inquired about their neighbor. The person they spoke to was evasive and refused to tell them of Bob’s condition or whereabouts.

Bob had lived in their neighborhood for more than 30 years. His wife had passed away over 10 years ago. Given the condition of the home and the fact that they could not get any information about their neighbor, they called me, expressing their fears.

When you suspect a friend’s parent needs help

When you suspect a friend’s parent needs help

A few weeks ago my husband and I were invited to a small dinner party. My friend wanted us to visit with his 90-year-old father, who was in town for a brief stay.

It had been a long time since I’d seen his father, maybe 20 years. Since then, his wife had passed away and he was living alone in the Midwest. He’d recently traveled to the West Coast for an extended stay in the desert and now was in our area for a visit with his son before heading home.

My friend’s father (I will call him Bill) looked great: trim and well-dressed. We chatted into the evening, catching each other up on our lives and activities.

It was during this exchange that it first happened.

Bill asked my husband what he did for a living, and my husband explained he worked for a corporation in the tax department.

At a lull in the conversation, Bill said to my husband, “So, Dennis, this must be a busy time of year for you with tax season and all.”

My husband’s name is Peter.

Senior Concerns’ services have grown with population

Senior Concerns’ services have grown with population

Certain charitable organizations are even more vital today than they were 20 years ago.

For example, brain disorder nonprofits like the Alzheimer’s Association orAutism Speaks are serving a much larger percentage of the population today than when they were founded.

Whether the originators of these organizations were visionary or were simply responding to a need at the time, we’re fortunate to have nonprofits that are focused on growing challenges in our communities.

Early on, the founders of Senior Concerns realized an unmet need for nutrition for homebound seniors. Over the ensuing years, the organization grew to meet a large variety of needs of aging seniors and their families.

I’m fairly certain those founders hadn’t imagined the demographic and longevity changes that would take place over the years, but never has an organization been more relevant to a community. We have begun to experience substantial growth in our older population, which will continue over the next 30 years.

A time to honor those who care

Our community is full of them.

They often go unnoticed by friends and neighbors. Their role is not known to their employer. For many, their doctor is unaware of their situation.

They walk among us, shop among us, work among us—yet we don’t see them for what they are: family caregivers.

As you look around your workplace, your neighborhood or your doctor’s waiting room, you might be surprised to learn that one in five people around you are caring for an aging parent, a spouse, an elderly family member or friend with a chronic, debilitating or serious health condition.

“It’s not surprising that many of us don’t see these people in that light because most of the time 

Join the conversation on LGBT and aging

In many communities, LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) older adults are a forgotten population.

Before the 1970s, little was known about this part of the population except that they were viewed by some as deviant or immoral. As a result, they concealed their sexual orientation, fearing physical and emotional abuse; rejection from family, friends and religious communities; and job loss.

Fast-forward 40 years and, while there is a greater understanding, LGBT elders still face challenges their heterosexual counterparts do not.

A majority of them live alone, relying on other older gay adults for support and caregiving.

Person-centered care

emailiconCIBDLast week I met my new neighbor’s 4-year-old daughter. I was with my dog, Rolo, and the little girl explained to me that her brother, just 22 months, was “obsessed” with dogs. It was a big word for a 4-year old. Her ability to recall the word and use it correctly was impressive. At 4, this little girl may make more decisions and verbalize more about her emotions than many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, she most likely gets to choose what book she wants to read, what she wants for breakfast, what television program she wants to watch and what play activity she enjoys. “Want” is the operative word here. In this child’s daily routine she is given choices that allow her to express her autonomy and independence. In turn, whether she knows it or not, she receives joy and satisfaction. One of the main challenges in caring for a person with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s is allowing the person’s “wants” to be verbalized and fulfilled. When we choose a person’s clothes,...

Training senior care providers

senior careWhen I was in corporate America, the companies I worked for invested a lot of money in employee education and development. Part of the reason this is on my mind right now is because I saved all of my training manuals and just had the opportunity to go through them. I can see how training for senior and family caregivers may be even more important than training for employees was in my past career. Growth in the senior industry is causing lightning-fast change. It can be challenging to keep up, whether as an industry professional or as a senior or family caregiver. Those who don’t work in the senior care industry may not be aware that in our community we have dedicated professional organizations taking on the valuable role of training and education. Moving Seniors Forward (www.movingseniorsforward.org) is a Ventura County and San Fernando Valley network of professionals (one representative per profession) offering services, products and information for seniors and their families....

Making a business ‘ability-friendly’

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Recently my parents needed to open a checking account for their newly created trust. In a phone conversation with my mom, who now makes most of the financial decisions, I asked which bank she planned to use. She said she was considering the decision. She was loyal to her old bank, but my sister, who lives close by, wanted my mom to move to her bank. Given similar rates of return at both banks, I asked what I thought was an obvious question, “Which bank is the easiest to get in and out of?” We debated the pros and cons of each location. Both banks were on busy roads with no signals to help regulate traffic in and out. Since my dad uses a wheelchair, we also considered the parking-lot setup, ramp access, whether they had an automatic entry system, and the configuration of the lobby floor plan to try to figure out which bank was easiest for my dad to navigate. We were amused that, as much attention as banks devote to customer service and relationship building, at the end of the...
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