When an adult child asks for money, it's hard to say no. You want to respond to a need. But perhaps your child perceives that you don't need all you have, or that they're simply requesting some of their inheritance, just a bit early.
Before you answer, ask for time to think it over. You want to make a decision based on wisdom, not emotion. You also need time to discuss this with your spouse, if you have one.
Here are some factors to consider:
Let us help you sort through the issues. Give us a call at 203-826-9206.
You probably already have some "smart" features in your home.
For instance, a thermostat you can program for a higher temp during the day and lower at night. Perhaps it has remote capabilities, so you can make changes from afar.
Or sensors, such as garden sprinklers that shut off when it's raining, or outdoor lights with motion detectors.
The most-recommended safety features for older adults include the following:
Give us a call to talk about options. 203-826-9206
Cohousing is like a retirement community in that it is a group of residents in individual, private domiciles. Plus, there are shared facilities for group activities. What's different is that retirement communities are created and run by a developer.
Cohousing communities are created by the people who will live in the buildings. All members hold an equal investment—personal and financial—in the process of creating and running the community. Decision making is shared and is usually by consensus.
Cohousing is the most ambitious of the housing alternatives for older adults. Cohousing is legally operated as a condominium with a homeowner's association. But the intention is to provide much more of a group experience. A community typically begins when a few founding partners assemble like-minded people with a vision. The group buys a piece of property and remodels or builds from the ground up. The layout specifically supports social interaction. A central common space is designed to host periodic group meetings and meals. Living units are small. Parking is on the periphery. Gardening is communal. From architecture to landscaping to decision making, the group determines everything. Residents also participate in maintaining the community once it's built and everyone has moved in.
Communities can be as large as forty households or as small as two or three. And they don't have to be built from scratch. Some groups purchase a large, old house and remodel. Others buy an apartment complex or a mobile home park and add the communal elements. Many communities are "all ages," but some organize specifically for those age fifty-five and older.
Caring for members as they age is challenging. As residents age and lose physical or mental abilities, they may not be able to maintain their participatory role. Over-fifty-five communities, especially, need policies that address who will care for ailing residents and who will take up the slack in terms of their communal duties. The balance between older and younger members requires careful monitoring.
Cohousing is not for everyone. It's certainly not for those with dementia or health challenges going in. And it helps to be a relatively young older adult, since it takes an average of three to seven years to assemble a community. Cohousing also tends to be expensive. But if you are an innovator, like your privacy yet are attracted to communal living and group decision making, it can be an excellent way to offset the isolation of aging in place. Learn more about existing communities or how to start one, at the Cohousing Association of the United States.
Interested in alternative living arrangements?
Contact us! 203-826-9206
October 15–December 7 is Medicare's annual "open enrollment" period. This is when you can switch plans. Are you getting a lot of mail about the cost savings of Medicare Advantage (MA)? The initial outlay may seem less than your current plan. And if you have "original Medicare," plus a supplemental plan for the 20% Medicare doesn't cover, and prescription coverage, bundling it all together is tempting.
Contrasting the options. There is no doubt that having facilities (Medicare Part A) and providers (Part B) and prescriptions (Part D) all through the same company offers simplicity. In theory, one payment covers everything. There's no need to shop for supplemental insurance or track whether the insurer paid its part of a bill. But it's not an apples with apples comparison. MA plans have some serious drawbacks:
No looking back. If you leave a supplemental program paired with original Medicare, there may be no way to return. The plan may no longer be offered. Or you may fall within a "preexisting condition" category that allows the plan to refuse you or significantly raise rates.
If you are considering a change, even from one MA plan to another, be sure to compare apples with apples by running through some hypotheticals. What would your out-of-pocket expenses be if you were hospitalized? Or in skilled nursing? Are your favorite doctors and hospitals in the network? What if you were traveling and got sick or injured? What are the likely costs by the end of the year for the medication you currently take?
Need Medicare advice? Let us point you in the right direction.
Give us a call at 203-826-9206.
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If you are like 68% of grandparents, you live too far away for regular interactions with your grandchildren. No reading bedtime stories or soothing little tears. No ticklefests or hands-on projects. These casual yet meaningful activities just aren't an option.
Video visiting helps. But according to Kerry Byrne of The Long-Distance Grandparent, you can count on only about a minute of video engagement for every year of your grandchild's age.
Here are some tips for building an online relationship:
Interactive apps that might be of interest. The "Longevity Explorers," a grassroots group of tech-savvy seniors, recommends these apps for their high interactivity. The parents will need to download a version too in order for these to work.
Let us help you stay connected. Call 203-826-9206.
A vast majority of older adults (77%) say they want to remain in their own homes as they age. Of course! Home is comfortable: We know where everything is—in the house, and also in the neighborhood and town. Friends, doctors, grocery store. We know how to get around quickly and easily. Plus, the emotional benefits of memories, identity, and history are baked into the walls of a home.
But for many, the concept of staying put is based on how things are now and doesn't factor in the changes that are bound to come: The need for help with shopping and meal preparation, housekeeping and repairs, yardwork, and transportation. And in the very last chapters of life, assistance with personal care such as bathing, dressing, and continence issues.
There is also the possibility of dementia (33% for persons 85 and older), which may prompt a need for help earlier than imagined. And with that, the fact of care providers coming in and out of the house.
If you plan on aging in place, it may be necessary to
Would you like help planning to age in place well?
Give us a call at 203-826-9206.
Especially for older adults living alone, the ability to summon help in the event of an emergency—such as a fall—is a very real concern. With a cell phone in your purse or pocket, it's easy to feel well set. Think again. The bathroom is where most falls occur. Do you take your cell phone in when you are using the toilet? Or taking a shower? And what if you hit your head and are unconscious? With a brain bleed, minutes count!
But who wants to wear one of those telltale pendants? Fortunately, with the advent of smartwatches, there are stylish options that do not carry such stigma.
Look for a smartwatch with some or all of these features.
Give us a call at 203-826-9206.
Three out of five (61%) of adults over 60 feel they have more stuff than they need. And yet many of us find it emotionally painful to cull our belongings.
While the physical labor of "right-sizing" is daunting, perhaps more powerful—and surprising—is the emotional challenge. For instance, you may feel that letting go of grandmother's wedding dress is like putting her in the trash. Or that if you discard your high school debate trophy, it's like that part of you has died. Or that giving away the fabric you bought to make a quilt "one day" is like abandoning your inner artist. It's human nature to imbue belongings with meaning, and it's those heartstrings that give us pause.
Some tips to help you let go
Recognize that some belongings need "safe passage." You want to find a place or person who will cherish and appreciate them. This will take time. But if you are persistent and start well before a deadline—six months or more before a move, for instance—you have a greater chance of placing them in good homes.
Build momentum. If you cull strategically and make it a routine, it gets easier over time. Start with large items, maybe a mattress or golf clubs you no longer use. Large items are an easy first win. Next, turn to items currently gathering dust in the basement, attic, or storage. These are often a quick release. Turn to the clothes closet after that. The comfort of your existing clothes may help you let go of those garments you no longer wear. Files are the next. They take time to go through. Consider bulk shredding rather than doing it yourself. (The IRS says you do not need to keep records any longer than three years.) Photos, old letters, and journals are the last. If you don't recognize the people, it may be time to let them go. As for that letter from your high school sweetheart, maybe save it in a box labeled "throw away." Some things are too precious to let go of during your lifetime, but perhaps too private for others to find.
Keep your eye on the prize. If you are downsizing to move, keep in mind the goals and life you imagine with your new digs. Who is the new you? It's easier to let go of the you-from-the-past if you focus on your future self. If you are decluttering on principle, remember that people who have completed the project say they feel so much lighter. It's an accomplishment that leaves them feeling freer to explore new vistas.
Hire a professional to help early on. Especially if you are on a deadline. A person trained in late-life moving can help you honor your feelings and streamline the process.
Looking for help? Give us a call 203-826-9206.
Do you find yourself more easily distracted these days? There is good reason: Concentration is about keeping what's useful top of mind while at the same time suppressing thoughts that distract from your primary objective. As we age, the "executive" center of the brain becomes less able to sort out distractions. It's a filtering process that requires heavy brainpower. Many people worry that lapses in concentration are an early sign of Alzheimer's. Not necessarily. While memory and focus are related, they are not the same thing.
If you are concerned about increasing distractibility
Are you worried about concentration and focus?
Let's talk about the possibilities. Give us a call: 203-826-9206.
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Are you tired of long waits to get an appointment? Rushed visits? Not being able to talk to your doctor by phone or communicate via email?
You aren't alone. Doctors dislike it too. But because most physicians today are employees of a large medical group, they are required to complete 30–40 patient visits per day. Appointments are set to last no more than 15 minutes. This is necessary to manage a typical patient load of 4,000.
Some primary care doctors are moving away from this business-focused model of medicine.
"Retainer-based," "concierge," or "boutique" medicine prioritizes the doctor–patient relationship. For an annual membership fee (average $1,500 – $2,400) you can join a primary care practice that is dedicated to staying small and intimate (≈150–600 patients). Your annual fee allows the doctor to guarantee
You pay the membership fee out of pocket. It is not covered by Medicare. You must also maintain an original Medicare policy and likely a supplemental policy since the concierge doctor will bill Medicare for office visits. As with traditional medicine, you also still have to pay your insurance premiums, deductibles, and copayments (unless your supplemental plan covers them).
What to look for in a concierge physician
So far, there are only 12,000 concierge physicians nationwide, but the number is growing quickly!
Interested in finding a concierge doctor?
Give us a call at 203-826-9206.
Leslie Alin Tewes is a Geriatric, Disability & Medical Care Manager; Elder and Adult Care Advocate; Quality Improvement Specialist.