Reimagine Aging News: August 2015

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

The 2015 Key Community Partner Awards Luncheon will be held October 23.

Join us to celebrate and support Senior Community Service's vital mission to help older adults and caregivers maintain independence.

Know someone with home maintenance needs? 
 

Chore services may be purchased through Senior Community Services' 

HOME store.


Worn Out: Seniors Caring for Seniors

Retirement is supposed to be a time of leisure, after decades spent in the working world and raising children. But millions of seniors, because of our increasingly aging population, are finding themselves as caregivers - pursuing a new labor of love, the care of a spouse or another loved one.
 
Gail, 78, works seven days a week, mornings through evenings, caring for her 85-year-old husband David who suffers from dementia. Because he awakens frequently, Gail finally had to hire an aide for overnights. "I'm no spring chicken myself, I need my rest," she said.
 
As many older caregivers struggle to keep their loved one out of a nursing home, the constant attention and care can take a toll on their own health. Numerous studies show that many caregivers die before the loved one for whom they care.
 
Older adults tough it out, feeling a loving sense of obligation. Alvin, 75, cares for his wife Ronda who's battling diabetes and debilitating arthritis. He helps her with bathing, dressing and moving about the house. Constant vigilance is required because if she falls, it could quickly become a very serious complication. "When this started, I told her that she'd cared for me for 50 years, I guess it's my turn."
 
The National Alliance for Caregiving found that caregivers older than 75 spend on average 34 hours a week on caregiving tasks. This time together, while aging in place, doesn't have to be a stressful season of life, especially at an age where endurance and physical strength begin to wane.

At Senior Community Services, we know that most Minnesota seniors prefer to live in their own home. And, across the state, family and friends provide more than 90 percent of care for seniors still living at home. However, most of these caregivers have no formal training in geriatric care.
 
Our goal is to support their independence as long as possible with services that provide a respite and make life more manageable. Our staff and volunteers assist them with household duties they can no longer manage alone. We help ease their isolation and loneliness at our many senior centers, help them navigate the seemingly endless depths of complex healthcare options ( and saving them money) and provide care coordination for caregivers who dutifully and lovingly do all they can day in and day out.
 
Thankfully, Senior Community Services is able to help them Reimagine Aging in a healthier way that better meets their needs. And tools, like our innovative website CareNextion.org, enable them to better manage the care and responsibilities.
 
The challenges are here to stay. The needs are growing. Soon, there will be more seniors than school children in Minnesota.  And in the next decade, one in four Minnesotans will be 65 or older.
 
Thankfully, there are a lot of people willing to help, and that's good, because we're all part of the solution. Help is a phone call or mouse click away.

Sincerely,

Deb Taylor
Chief Executive Officer 

CEO Deb Taylor’s monthly column, which is published in many Minnesota newspapers, focuses on how we can Reimagine Aging to better serve seniors and their caregivers. The most recent newspaper column is available here.

If you know of a caregiver or older adult who would benefit from Senior Community Services' many supportive programs and services, please encourage them to contact us. They can stay connected with us by doing three things: 'LIKE' us on FACEBOOK, 'FOLLOW' us on TWITTER, and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter here.

 

"A health crisis is draining and emotional. CareNextion really helped lessen the stress."     

- Deb Mckinley

Deb Mckinley with her mother, Dorothy.
At 92, Dorothy McKinley is fortunate to still live independently in the same Ohio home where her nine children were raised. But a crisis developed last Thanksgiving after she fell. Suddenly, Dorothy need care, especially overnight, because she was unable to get out of bed without assistance.
 
Thankfully, daughter Deb McKinley, who lives in the Twin Cities, knew about CareNextion, the free easy-to-use online tool developed by Senior Community Services. The web platform enabled the family (six siblings live in Ohio) to better coordinate care and task assignments. And the journaling function ensured everyone was well informed with the most up-to-date information. "CareNextion helped us coordinate a schedule so someone was always staying overnight with Mom while she needed help," Deb explained. "Our use of the website later evolved as we coordinated other tasks such as doctor visits, laundry, food preparation and other household chores."
 
Without CareNextion, Deb said Dorothy's care would have been much more challenging and less coordinated. "A health crisis is draining and emotional. CareNextion really helped lessen the stress and give us an understanding of Mom's daily life and how we should best support her so she could live most fully and actively."
 
The family used CareNextion for four months, until Dorothy was healed and able to live independently again. "Mom thought CareNextion was a really cool tool, too," Deb added.
 
For more information on CareNextion,
Please visit www.carenextion.com or call 612-770-7005. 

"I love to donate to meaningful causes that do good work for older adults and there's none better than Senior Community Services."                             

- Jeanette Metz

 
We love it when trusted experts in senior care sing out praises. A great friend and financil supporter is Jeanette Metz, whose background in senior care and community services include a 14-year-stint with the Wilder Foundation. 

Once retired, Jeanette served on the Senior Community Services board of directors for several years, and enjoyed art classes at one of the senior centers we manage in Mound. "I love to donate to meaningful causes that do good work for older adults and there's none better than Senior Community Services, in my view," Jeanette said.
 
During her board tenure, Jeanette remembers visiting with an elderly woman who had been hospitalized and required a short nursing home stay to recover. She recognized the struggle she'd face maintaining her independence once back home, so she received help from Senior Community Services. Volunteers painted her house, maintained her garden and performed light housekeeping. "She told me, 'Without Senior Community Services I never could have returned to my home,'" Jeanette said.
 
"That made me feel really good to know Senior Community Services had an incredible, positive impact on her quality of life. The organization is well run with an extraordinary staff. They do really good work for Minnesota seniors."
 
Senior Community Services relies upon community generosity to sustain our mission.  Please consider a financial gift today and help make life healthier, more engaging and vital for those older adults in our lives.


Thank you for making a difference in the lives of seniors.
 

Honor a friend or loved one with a tax-deductible gift to Senior Community Services.Your gift of $35, $60, $150 or an amount of your choosing will make life better for low-income seniors who need help maintaining independence.

You may give securely online at www.seniorcommunity.org and click on Support.
 
Checks may be mailed to: 
Senior Community Services
Attn: Development 

10201 Wayzata Blvd. Suite 335
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Stay Connected With CareNextion


Are you caring for an aging loved one? Stay connected to caregiving from anywhere with www.carenextion.org. This free and secure online tool strengthens support networks through centralized coordination of care, task assignment and journaling.

You can also access helpful resources. Visit www.carenextion.org for more information or to speak with a staff person call 612-770-7005.

The Reimagine Aging Institute is the public awareness arm of Senior Community Services as we reach out to the community via the news media.  Through the Institute, we illuminate aging issues of broad relevance for seniors, their families, and Minnesota communities.

Visit the Institute's web page here.  And be sure to watch for media stories of interest to families with older loved ones and friends.

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