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Putting Together the Pieces for "Aging in Place"

October 1, 2001
by Bonnie Solomon
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  • Transportation to physician appointments, religious services and essential shopping. Residents with special needs might require escorted services. If your housing community does not have its own vehicle or if the resident cannot afford the transportation service fees, tap into community resources for older adult transportation, volunteer transport and family assistance. For example, the diabetes associations might have volunteer transportation available for residents who require kidney dialysis. Churches might have an outreach program for assisting seniors. Public transportation might have a "call-a-ride" system for people with disabilities.
  • Flexible dining opportunities and menus, e.g., soup served in mugs, specialized diets or in-apartment tray service.
  • Activities designed for specialized needs, e.g., reminiscence program led by a psychiatric nurse/social worker from a home health agency; water exercises led by a community organization such as the Arthritis Foundation; tai chi classes to promote balance; family support groups; and wellness programs.
  • Additional fee-for-service housekeeping, laundry, chores and grocery shopping.
  • Establishment of a volunteer service corps staffed by high school student organizations or the Boy or Girl Scouts.
  • Emergency call system pendants or wrist bracelets activated by pressing a button.
     
Tapping Into Community Organizations   As you begin to assemble solutions to meet the ongoing needs of your aging-in-place population, you need to identify and tap into a variety of public services offered within your own cities and counties. Highlights of these include:
  • Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Each state has an Office on Aging, with AAA agencies located throughout the state. Your state's AAA has an information and referral service offering accurate, up-to-date information on all the available services in the community, including transportation, senior dining centers, volunteer agencies, home health agencies, adult daycare services and specialized care resources.
  • Family service agencies, such as Catholic, Lutheran and Jewish Family Services, which are counseling agencies and, in some cases, service providers for homemaker and chore services, transportation and money management. Often their services are available on a sliding scale based on individual income.
  • Hospitals. When a resident has been admitted to a hospital, it is important to work with its social services department regarding a discharge p1an. Usually, there is a small window of opportunity for you because the hospitalization could be very brief. Together you and the social worker might be able to work out a suitable service plan.
  • Home health services provide nursing services and personal care services, and can be contracted with to provide physical, occupational and speech therapy. Of course, reimbursement for these services under Medicare and managed care has been a "moving target" and cannot be relied upon.
  • Financial and legal assistance agencies provide assistance with estate planning, guardianship, emergency funds, fuel purchases, conservatorship, legal counseling and money management on a sliding-scale fee basis.
  • Adult day care. Generally these programs are open five days a week and include a hot lunch and transportation. Some have specialized programs for dementia and Alzheimer's management, therapy, medications, etc. Many accept Medicaid.
  • Nutrition. There are senior congregate dining centers available in most communities. Some communities offer Meals on Wheels, food pantries and grocery delivery services.
  • Support groups. These include groups focusing on bereavement, Alzheimer's, stroke, and widow-to-widow and caregiver support.
  • In-home services provide assistance with household chores, home repair, weatherization, telephone reassurance and emergency response.
     
Creating Service Packages   Again and again, research demonstrates that helping seniors remain in their own housing environment is the preferred and most palatable option for them and their families. The advent of assisted living has opened up a new world of service opportunity to meet these preferences. Today, the seniors housing provider has many assisted living service models from which to choose. Creating, for example, a continuum-of-care model involves dedicating a specific building or portion of a building to providing a supportive environment. Clustering residents together in small group settings enables them to have more personalized attention and ongoing oversight.

Another model tailors a service package delivered to the residential units either bundled or a la carte. Typically, the resident is assessed initially by a management designee, contracted social worker or licensed professional nurse. Then, a specialized care plan is developed. If the resident needs only medication reminders, for instance, that service is provided by in-house staff or a contracted home health agency, or the resident's family can contract services from a licensed healthcare professional. Under this arrangement, services can be enhanced for a resident's "spell of illness" and then discontinued when no longer needed. Perhaps the service needed is just a "jump start" in the morning and a "fluff and tuck" in the evening. Sometimes residents might appreciate an escort service designed to orient them to their surroundings and the programs and activities offered by the housing community.

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In all your nice online posts, Delmar Gardens talks the talk alright. I actually do think you're a great nursing home environment but the facts are horribly clear to me, that Gabe shouldn't refuse communication with Jimbo. If I'm seeing something wrong he needs to meet with my hubsand and myself to see if there is a resolution. A total public apology and huge photographs of my husband in Chef Attire in every nursing home would do for starters! Geesh what's it take to get the rich to see that we poor people have rights too? Did you know he used to play poker in the basement of Jimmies home years ago, he and the guys. They were all best friends, or at least he assumed to be. Please Bonnie, just tell Gabe to do the right thing. No matter what he feels about me, I am not going to go away until he talks to my husband, and then even after that I would wonder if he would trick me, trying to accuse me of some kind of blackmail, I don't want this man flicken money, I want my husbands self respect returned to him NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ask Gage what he think about Jimbo sitting around at age 86 in near tears because he didn't get a full retirement? Ask him Bonnie please?

Sorry for the typos I'm just so darn upset. Gabe makes me feel like I did something wrong to ruin my husbands chances of retirement when he clearly refused him in his office the last time we were in, years ago. If my husband passes from this earth without a retirement I will continue to spend my lifes on-going mission to get Gabe (sorry for the type earlier) to get GABE to do something in my husbands honor, this is disgusting to me, a downright sin, if not illegal, it's a sin to treat another human being with such diregard. Of course these are only my opinions. Just read the blog at http://www.thestlousiattorneys.com and reply. That's all I care about.

Please have Gabe Grossberg read my blogs about Delmar Gardens on http://www.thestlouisattorneys.com site. I'm sure he'll want to respond to the already high ranking consumer complaint blog that I have designed. It's a nice blog, but it does feature him center stage of a question beign posed, "Why is he earning a massive living off the retirements of St. Louis's wealthiest and yet refuses to pay Jimbo Sias a retirment?" I hope he answers quickly cause my fingers are getting tired of writing about it, trying to figure out how he could ignore my questions.

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