Assisted Living Today’s Weekly Roundup

With black Friday and cyber Monday just past, you may have been spending a lot of time online shopping for the holidays. Do you brave the stores or stay in your pajamas with a steaming cup of coffee to shop online?

Here at Assisted Living Today, we’ve stayed away from the shops, and kept to the news and trends for interesting articles and posts from the cyber world. We hope you enjoy, and please let us know of any interesting, relevant news you’ve encountered in the past week.

Senior Lifestyles

You’re never too old to start a business, reports Reuters. One South Carolina grandmother of three proves it with an inspiring solution-turned-business. Searching for a lipstick tube in the bottom of her purse, she began to think of a better way to organize. What came was an idea and, this year, nearly $2 million in revenues from a business she started out of her house.

Senior Health

A new study published in Population Health Management shows that a cancer diagnosis trumps type 2 diabetes when it comes to patients seeking treatment. The study says that people with type 2 diabetes who are diagnosed with cancer ignore the diabetes in favor of treating the cancer. The problem is, uncontrolled high blood pressure can be more detrimental than cancer because it weakens their immune system. Read more on WebProNews.

Looking for a great gift for a caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s? The first of its kind from a major publisher, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook: Recipes to Boost Brain Health, offers more than 100 brain-boosting recipes rich in the B-complex vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and omega-3s. Read more on abc News.

Senior Living

Revived discussion about the CLASS act, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, by a gerontology expert who feels the act, which was shelved by the Obama administration in 2011, should be revived. The act supports a voluntary insurance program that offers a range of long-term care benefits. Do you think it should be revived? Read about it on Kaiser Health News.

Trends in Technology

Are you making your lists, checking them twice? Seniors want technology as much as the kids do. The Senior Care Corner blog offers a list of technology gifts for the seniors in your life.

Photo credit: stock.XCHNG

Ez Adjust Bed Rail Review

There are many aging-in-place products designed to keep older adults safe in their homes for as long as possible. One that should top the list is the Ez Adjust Bed Rail, a simple side rail that can help prevent falls and serve as a support for getting into and out of bed. A convenient, useful and non-intrusive addition to your loved one’s bed, the Ez Adjust Bed Rail is versatile and sturdy, with features that include:

  • adjustment lengths from 26 to 34 to 42 inches once the rail is installed, allowing for maximum protection to convenient accessibility
  • ability to install on either side of the bed
  • a rail that easily pivots up and down to enable the user to get in or out of bed, or allow someone to easily change sheets or make the bed
  • includes a safety strap that attaches to the bed frame to keep it from getting bumped out of place

People who reviewed the product commented on how easy the bed rail was to install and that it added peace of mind to caregivers. Most said it was sturdy, although a few felt the rail could be sturdier. The rail is able to be folded for easy travel, and it doesn’t encroach the user’s sleeping space.

On sale at for around $80, the Ez Adjust Bed Rail does offer peace of mind to caregivers of elderly parents or relatives and much-needed autonomy for people who live alone or simply don’t want to ask for help every time they get into or out of bed.




Assisted Living Today’s Weekly Roundup

Happy Thanksgiving! By now, maybe you’ve loosened your belt buckle or switched to the elastic waistbands. We hope you all had reasons to give thanks, friends or family around the table and a hearty Thanksgiving meal to enjoy.

Here at Assisted Living Today, we’ve come out of our tryptophan coma to search the web for interesting and tasty bites that don’t add calories! We hope you enjoy, and please let us know of any interesting, relevant news you’ve encountered in the past week.

Weird but True

Is it really the L-tryptophan that makes people sleepy after eating a full, hearty holiday meal? The experts on Chemistry take a look at what role the amino acid has on inducing the post-feast lethargy so many people feel. Can you blame the turkey for that long Thanksgiving nap?

Senior Lifestyles

Moving soon? If so, your to-do list is long. Make sure you don’t leave your handling of Medicaid off the list. ElderOptions of Texas offers a comprehensive guide on what to do about Medicaid when you move. Not just for residents of Texas!

Senior Health

A study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) shows that mental activities like reading, writing and playing games can preserve structural integrity in the brains of older people. Maybe not a huge surprise, but worth the reminder. Read and engage your brain at PsychCentral.

Where do you stand on the line between legal and illegal medicinal drugs? Now 18 states across the U.S.have legalized medicinal marijuana. Some say we’re missing out on the vast array of health benefits the plant can offer. Check out this article on AlterNet summarizing the healing power of medicinal marijuana and weigh in if you feel inclined.

Senior Living

An article in CBS Moneywatch summarized why now is a good time to be aging, despite obstacles in the financial system and worries about Medicare and Social Security. Here’s a positive take on growing older in today’s world with a nice reference list for further reading.

Trends in Technology

What’s the next exploding trend? Joseph Prentiss, President of Yankee Electrical Co. in Shrewsbury, Ma., says smart technology is the rage with his company. As more boomers get smartphones and tablets, they’re taking it further to turn their homes into smart homes–controlling heat, garage doors, electronics and more. Read about it on Looking for ideas for senior-friendly tablets? See our in-depth report on the best tablet for seniors.

Legal Services for the Elderly: Where and When to Start

Older adults will eventually encounter age-specific issues which can require legal services. But at what point should you seek legal advice, and for which situations? Is it to make end-of-life decisions or for income-related advice and support? Perhaps it is due to hardships related to consumer-related problems because unfortunately, many seniors fall prey to scams such as fraud, identity theft and other crimes. Seniors are faced with important and often vital end-of-life decisions that require the expertise of a professional.

When is it time?

Older people occasionally, sometimes more often, have to rely on others for things related to their daily activities. This can make the elderly more susceptible to things such as elder abuse, which can be in the form of physical abuse, neglect, or even telephone scams designed to take advantage of vulnerable older adults. Fortunately, there are laws that protect the elderly from such abuse, and if you or a loved one ends up in a situation like this, it’s time to call a lawyer.

Maybe its time to think about end-of-life arrangements such as an advanced directive, a living will, power of attorney, funeral planning, or estate planning. Whether it’s a living will, which specifies what healthcare-related actions you want taken if you’re unable to make decisions due to  temporary or permanent incapacitation, or whether you want to plan for the future financially, an attorney who specializes in elder law should be contacted.

Living wills and advance planning for the elderly

It’s wise to protect your property and assets by having a will even if you don’t have a large estate or a lot of money. The main reason is to ensure that your property and valuables go to the person or persons that you choose. If a will has not been drafted, the property can be distributed according to their state’s laws.

Preplanning for a funeral can take a huge burden off of family members; it offers emotional and financial security for seniors and their loved ones. Since 2000, The National Funeral Directors Association now follow a Bill of Rights for funeral contracts, which serves as a resource to understand what to expect from preplanning your funeral. However, before signing any funeral arrangement contracts it is important to have a legal professional look over the documents.

Where do I Look for Legal Advice?

Where are the experts that can help a senior with end-of life-concerns? In the early 2000’s the specialty of Elder Law surfaced, which is devoted to the issues that seniors face. Elder law encompasses all aspects of planning for aging, illness and incapacity such as:

  • Health and personal care planning, which includes powers of attorney and living wills, lifetime planning and family issues.
  • Fiduciary (financial) representation, financial planning, housing opportunities and financing, income, estate, and gift tax matters.
  • Planning for a well spouse when the other spouse requires long term care, asset protection, public benefits such as Medicaid and insurance, and Veterans’ benefits.
  • Capacity, guardianship and guardianship avoidance.
  • Resident rights in long-term care facilities and nursing home claims.
  • Employment and retirement matters, age or disability discrimination and grandparents’ rights.
  • Will and trust planning, planning for minor or adult special needs children.

There are a number of situations in which you may find yourself in need of an elder law attorney. In general, however, the sooner the better is the rule when it comes to making plans for the future. It’s wise to sit down with an attorney even in mid-life or sooner to discuss things such as advance directives and wills in case of unforeseen events. The better prepared you are now, the more you can enjoy your golden years knowing all your end-of-life decisions will be carried out.

Image by otiep on Stock.xchng

The Sharper Image Deep Kneading Shiatsu Foot Massager Review

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Holiday gift-giving is at its best when you’re giving comfort. Give your loved one a relaxing, heated foot massage–any time he or she wants one–with the Sharper Image deep kneading Shiatsu foot massager. Combining the ancient Asian principles of Shiatsu with the stimulating practice of acupressure, this foot massager revives, refreshes and warms your feet.

The counter-rotational massage with six Shiatsu heads makes your feet feel like they are in the hands of a professional, with a “thumb action” setting that kneads deep. A soothing heat option, activated with a simple “toe-touch” control warms your feet for 15 minutes before automatically shutting off. When the unit is not in use, the cord hides away and it stores easily under the bed or in a closet.

Users who reviewed the massager came from all walks of life–from working a job on her feet for 8 hours to someone with plantar fascitis and another with gout. Many commented on how pleasurable the heat was, and how relaxing the massage was once they overcame the tickling sensation they experienced after half a minute or so. It doesn’t have many settings or fancy bells and whistles, but for soothing cold, tired feet, many said it did the job well.

The Sharper Image MSG-110 Deep Kneading Shiatsu Foot Massager is available on Amazon for $59.00. Warm up those cold tootsies and relax with a soothing foot massage, or give the gift of comfort this holiday season!

Role Reversal: Cohabitating with an Elderly Parent

As the population continues to age, few things become more apparent than seniors’ desire for independence coupled with wanting to stay in their own homes. It’s a comfort thing: Most people want to grow old in their home, surrounded by their personal belongings and memories. Not to mention, the exorbitant costs associated with care outside of the home either in a long-term setting or assisted living facilities seems far out of reach for many of today’s families.

Nowadays, there are more and more adult children who end up cohabitating with their aging parents, whether that means the child returns home to get back on his feet or an elderly parent moves in with a child’s family to downsize or when it becomes unsafe for them to live alone. In the last 15 years, the number of seniors living with an adult child has skyrocketed, thanks in part to the high costs associated with getting outside help.

Living with elderly parents
Families provide the bulk of long-term care

It’s estimated that over 10 million adults over the age of 50 are responsible for the care of an aging parent. That’s about one in five Americans taking over the responsibility of a parent either in their home or paying for their care, according to the most recent statistics from the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA).

What’s more, Focus on the Family reports that families–not institutions–are providing 80 percent of long term care, meaning there are a lot of family caregivers out there providing the bulk of caregiving services for today’s elderly population. . As baby boomers are living longer and having healthier lives, any care that is needed for the aging parents typically becomes the children’s responsibility.

As people grow older, there are many ailments and conditions which may lead to the need for outside help. Cohabitating with aging parents can take the place of some, if not much, of the need for this assistance. A cohabitating arrangement can prove beneficial and rewarding, but it could also create plenty of complications.

Talk out the details first

Most children have good intentions when they decide living with an elderly parent is the best option. However, these situations can go south very rapidly if all the details weren’t given much thought before the decision was made.

Addressing every topic beforehand, such as finances, and evaluating how to establish unity among everyone involved can ease much of the tension associated with living with aging parents. Here are a few topics that should be considered prior to cohabitating with mom or dad:

  • Who will pay the bills? Will your parent be expected to contribute financially?
  • Are there young children involved, and how can they be prepared for this change? Be sure to discuss the situation and explain, even to very young children, why Grandma or Grandpa is moving in and what it means for them.
  • Do you need ground rules for young children? The roles can get mixed when multiple generations live under the same roof; be upfront about disciplinary roles and expectations to avoid hurtful confrontations.
  • What medical needs does your elderly parent have? Who will be responsible for taking care of any care needs, appointments and supplies?
  • Is it safe for your aging parent to be alone during the day? If not, who will be caring for her while your family is away? Look into options such as adult day care if needed.

Living with mom or dad

Share responsibilities with siblings

If your aging loved one requires a great deal of care, enlisting other siblings to help can be a good idea. If you have adult siblings who live close enough to help with daily activities or transportation to doctor appointments, it can alleviate the amount of stress placed on the child with whom the aging parent resides.

Make plans in advance and discuss these options with your elderly parent and any siblings who will be participating in care. Again, advance planning goes a long way in avoiding unpleasant disputes down the road.

Check into community resources

Researching all the options available in your community, such as respite care can also help alleviate some of the burden. It’s important for families entering into a cohabitating arrangement with an elderly loved one to know all their options and have ample support. Ancillary resources that can help include:

Living with elderly parents can and does work, provided there is sufficient space, privacy and boundaries for everyone involved. Mutual respect and a place to go when one has had enough family time are also crucial to a successful cohabitating arrangement.  Cooperation, advance planning and flexibility are all critical to the family’s happiness.

Images via and  InAweofGod via Flickr

Assisted Living Today’s Weekly Roundup

Photo credit: stock.xchng, lkwolfson

The signs are everywhere, from the Salvation Army bell ringers to the garland in the stores, Christmas is on its way. Hopefully we all take a little time to remember Thanksgiving and count the blessings in our lives. Leave your comments–do you think Thanksgiving is overlooked these days? Have you turned on your holiday tunes?

Here at Assisted Living Today, we’re busy scouring the web for tips and trends that might be of help or interest to you. We hope you enjoy, and please let us know of any interesting, relevant news you’ve encountered this week!

Weird but True

If you use a walker, this story will tell you that it doubles as a defense weapon. A 50 year-old-woman used her walker to defend herself against a home intruder who she thinks was after prescription medicine she had in her purse. In the article on MSN She says, “I was almost helpless. If I didn’t have the walker, I’d have nothing.”

Senior Lifestyles

My Ageing Parents talks about keeping parents in their own homes for as long as possible. Often it’s a crisis that sends us into panic mode over what to do next–a surprise illness or a fall. Consider these tips to avoiding panic mode.

Senior Health

Get your cholesterol tested regularly? Fasting may not be necessary any longer, according to a new Canadian study. Researchers found the blood tests showed similar average total cholesterol and “good” HDL cholesterol readings, in particular, regardless of whether patients had eaten recently or avoided food for more than eight hours, as is typically recommended. Read more on Medicine Plus.

November is National Family Caregiver Month and the American Society on Aging summarizes the impact of family caregivers. More than 65 million people in theUnited States provide care for chronically ill, disabled or aged family members or friends during any given year. Are you one of them?

Senior Living

Are you planning for long-term care costs? Genworth Financial offers an interactive map sharing the median cost of long-term care from state to state. Compare between states or get a general idea of what you can expect in your or your loved one’s area.

Trends in Technology

An article on ABC news highlights assistive technology that helps the elderly age in place, noting that the technology should fit the user’s lifestyle, rather than making the user tailor his or her lifestyle to the technology. Read their top four picks.

Sennheiser RS120 Over-Ear 900MHz Wireless RF Headphones with Charging Cradle Review

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There are times you just want to hear the TV clearly, or listen to your favorite music without other audible interruptions. Especially in an assisted living setting, where people gather and talk, or if residents share a room, it can be difficult to focus on one sound. Tune out the outside noise and tune in your show or music with the help of wireless headphones.

Comfortable to wear, with terrific sound quality, the Sennheiser RS120 Over-Ear 900MHz wireless headphones are the perfect solution. Lightweight and cord-free, you can wear these headphones and still move about the room. The signal can transmit reception through walls, ceilings and even outdoors. Wherever you go, expect clear, warm, well-balanced sound and excellent bass reproduction.

The headphones connect to RCA jacks (red and white outputs), devices like desktop computers and laptops, and other devices with either a 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch headphone sockets. They are also compatible with set-top DVD & Blu-Ray players, DVRs, satellite receivers, a/v receivers, MP3 players, LCD, Plasma and standard televisions that feature RCA outputs.

When not in use, simply set them on the transmitter, which can be wall-mounted for convenience, and the headset recharges with two rechargeable NiMH batteries that are included.

Other features of the wireless RF headphones include:

  • Three selectable channels
  • Ability to receive the RF signal through multiple headphones from one transmitter
  • Convenient controls, including a volume on/off and tuning control on the headphone
  • Open-Aire Supra-Aural design for hi-fidelity audio reproduction
  • 2-year warranty
  • Replacable earpads

Many reviewers note how glad they are to have two people in the same space listen to either the same programming at different sound levels or altogether different programming–one watching sports in the headphones while the other listens to music, for example. Overall, sound quality got good reviews save a few who noted a faint buzzing, especially as they moved farther from the transmitter.

A great gift idea at $99 on for someone hard-of-hearing or someone who shares your space, but not your choice of music or TV shows!

8 Tips for Talking To Your Parents About Assisted Living

Photo credit: stock.xchng, agathabrown

Having “the talk” can be difficult, emotional, scary. But putting off the subject for another time might leave you with no time for pre-planning. If you’re considering talking to your parents about assisted living (and you probably should be), here are a few tips.

1. If you have siblings, discuss the assisted living option with them first.

The future plan for your parents as they age might be different in your mind than from your siblings’. Make sure you all can agree, or find ways to discuss your disagreements before bringing the topic up with your parents. If disagreements are strong and you can’t have healthy discussion, involve a social worker in your conversations. An unbiased third party can often bring resolution.

2. Bring the topic up before you’re forced to bring it up.

Pre-planning allows you to control the situation, the setting and the direction of the conversation. If it’s possible, choose a time when there’s a network of family or friends available, and when the people involved are happy and relaxed. Open dialogue when everyone isn’t feeling stress or immediacy allows your elderly parent or relative to offer his or her feelings on the subject. It’s dialogue rather than directive.

3. Be willing to revisit the conversations more than once (or a dozen times).

The first crack at it might be unsuccessful. Even just thinking about getting too old or not being well enough to live on your own is a scary consideration. That first conversation may, in fact, just be the ball that gets a long process rolling. Be willing to ride it out.

4. Have options in mind.

If your parents or loved ones are willing to look at brochures, or even tour facilities, have the materials, websites or addresses ready. Being involved in the decision may make your mom or dad feel better about the eventual move.

5. Be ready to discuss the financial aspect of assisted living.

Do you know your parent’s financial situation? Have they planned ahead for long-term care or is there a fixed budget in place for daily living expenses? Personal finances are just that–personal, and delving into the checkbook, savings account and investments–or lack thereof–may cause friction. If it’s possible to involve a financial coach or expert in fiduciary matters, look into services in your area.

Listen to an interview with Sheri Samotin about financial management and fiduciary planning.

6. Make it a bi-annual or annual conversation.

If you begin the process early enough, and you don’t face decisions under duress, the topic of assisted living can be one you assess regularly. After six months or a year have passed, look at how your parent is doing. Assess his or her health, abilities, happiness and safety.

7. Come to the conversation with an educated but open mind.

If your goal is to convince your parent(s) to move to assisted living, then be prepared to discuss the pros and cons. Maybe it’s never having to mow a lawn or shovel snow again; having tasty, warm meals prepared each day; meeting new friends or becoming involved in social activities or classes they’d given up. The safety of an on-site healthcare team might be appealing if declining health is an issue. On the other hand, listen to how your mom or dad is feeling about the topic and show you understand–and really try to understand!–his or her viewpoint.

8. Breathe.

Whether you’ve taken the pro-active path and have time to research the issues and options, or you’re facing a crisis and feel pressure to make an immediate decision, remember to slow down and breathe. Use resources like AARP, Assisted Living Federation of America, American Seniors Housing Association or the National Council on Aging, to help with the tough decisions.

Top 5 Ways for Seniors to Stay Active…Even During the Winter!

Exercising regularly has important benefits for seniors, but when the winter comes, many resort to sitting on the couch and watching TV for lack of something else to do. Just because the temperatures have dropped, doesn’t mean your activity level has to! Here are some great ways to stay active during the winter season, without sacrificing your safety

1. Change your attitude toward winter

You can’t avoid winter cold and weather, unless you’re living in the tropics. Many people tend to hate the season because of the amount of time they’re forced to spend indoors, due to cold, inclement weather or snow. If wintery weather or storms are predicted, make a plan to be productive indoors, and don’t waste time complaining about it!

2. Enjoy the wintry outdoors

If you’re a particularly active senior, you may not like the idea of being forced indoors for your workout. Guess what? You’re not! Dress warmly, and engage in a snowball fight with the grand kids! You may not be breaking a sweat, but it’s a great cardio workout and you’ll forget you’re doing something healthy through all the fun you’re having!

3. Spend an hour in the sauna

If you are unable to do strenuous activities due to joint pain, or any number of health problems, a sauna (or even a portable sauna) could be a great cure to the cold weather blues! Amongst frigid temperatures outside, the warm comforting air of a sauna will help relax you, and it will allow you to sweat off a few pounds as well… without doing anything! Seniors should take care, however, and consult their doctors before spending extended periods of time in the sauna.

4. Recognize the awesome possibilities with a home workout

Working out at home is easier than you think! If you have a treadmill or elliptical at home, working out inside is simple. For those of you without home gym equipment, however, there are many available DVD’s and Blue-Ray Discs out there that have home workout instructions. Many of these workouts use only your body, or common items in your home, so anyone can do it without spending money on pricey equipment. You can tailor your workout to your preferred level of activity, which is great for seniors, who range from very active, to frail and unable to perform complex and strenuous workouts.

5. Have a health-focused mindset

Most importantly, eat and sleep well, and stay hydrated. Being well nourished and rested provides a great start to a healthy, active body.

No matter what you decide to do, it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra precaution: check with your doctor before implementing a new workout routine, and use a medical alert system so that help is always a press of a button away in the event of a fall or other accident.

These are easy to use alert buttons that you can wear as a pendant or bracelet, and can be pressed to call a team of emergency responders through a base unit installed in the home. It is an inexpensive way to ensure that your workout doesn’t carry the risk of putting you in an emergency situation. By all means stay active with some winter activity, but do not sacrifice your safety.

For More Information on medical alert systems and how they can help you stay active and safe, visit: