Aging in Place: With whatever we have left

The article below talks about how the aging population is faced with the challenge of wanting to age in place but not having all of the skills and abilities they once had. Touching on the challenge of living at home, it does take courage to age in place. We encourage people to utilize natural supports and assistive technology.

 Take a look at this article about aging in place with whatever we have left. 


AGING IN PLACE: With whatever we have left

Years ago, I heard a story about the great violinist Itzhak Perlman, who was playing a concert at Carnegie Hall. Just as he began, one of the strings on his violin snapped with a loud “twang.” The audience became restless because they understood this would cause a long delay.

Due to polio in his youth, Mr. Perlman moves slowly. It would take a while for him to make his way backstage. Then, there would be a wait for the violin to be restrung. Finally, there would be his slow return to the stage. Row by row the audience quieted as people realized the violinist was not leaving the stage; instead, he was still sitting there, head bowed in concentration.

Finally, Carnegie Hall was silent and Mr. Perlman began to play without the missing string. Those in attendance that night insisted it was one of the greatest concerts they had ever experienced. After the applause had died down, Mr. Perlman stood and made this statement, “It is the challenge of the artist to do as much as he can with whatever he has left.”

Read the rest of the article here.

“Deciding Who They Want To Be: Young Adults With Special Needs Make Transition From School”

The article “Deciding Who They Want To Be: Young Adults With Special Needs Make Transition From School” by Aimee Caruso addresses the important topic that many families with special needs face: What’s next? After kids with special needs are out of high school, the matter of what comes next can be a hard one. For some families the decision may be obvious. For others, it may not be. Caruso addresses a few different options that families have and provides real examples from real people on how they have handled “What’s next?”

 “Deciding Who They Want To Be: Young Adults With Special Needs Make Transition From School” by Aimee Caruso

By Aimee Caruso

Valley News Staff Writer

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Leah Wright, 22, has spent the past few months settling back into the town she lived in until she was 11.

After graduating from Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts, she returned to Windsor, where she and her family have been laying the groundwork for the next chapter of her life.

On the weekdays, while her parents are working, she attends a special education program. Recently, Leah took a part-time job at a local convenience store — she likes the people and the pocket money.

Frank Vanek graduated from Woodstock Union High School in 2011, and soon after, his mother left her job to be his full-time caregiver. “Frankie,” now 23, is “ a sweet boy” with a good sense of humor, said Delia Vanek. Still, their life together isn’t easy. Money is tight and she has little time to herself. But Frank, a tall, burly guy whose special needs include a stress disorder, can be unpredictable, and his mother said she knows better than anyone how to help him.

Ryan Guidotti, 26, tried a number of different jobs after high school before he found his place. Long interested in health care, Guidotti completed Project Search, a school-to-work program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities based at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Soon after, he landed a job at DHMC that really suits him, as well as an apartment of his own in Lebanon.

While they are in school, people with special needs are entitled to certain services and supports. But after graduating, they enter what is often called a “non-entitlement system ” —that is, services are not guaranteed. As young adults prepare to leave the cocoon of school, their parents face questions familiar to anyone who has raised a child. Where will he live? How will she cover her living expenses? How much support will she need?

Read the rest of the article here.

Alive Inside at the Land Of Sky

Our friends at the Land of Sky are hosting a viewing of the film “Alive Inside” on November 13 at the Carolina Cinema in Asheville at 3 pm. Tracing the impact of individualized music on people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, this film won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. There is no charge for the viewing, but donations are encouraged.

Take a look at tunnamedhis video for a sample of the film.

Medical-alert systems can be helpful, especially for older people living alone

Since the release of medical-alert systems in the 1970s, technology and its capabilities have grown and continue to become more and more advanced.

As technology becomes more and more sophisticated, medical-alert systems are evolving into a system that can now passively capture and transmit information about activities taking place in a home without an individual being held responsible to press a pendant to call for help.

This eliminates the worry of the individual not being able to access their pendant after a fall or a similar incident.

With this technology and the continual emergence of new technologies all the time, the medical-alert systems are continuing to grow in their capabilities while they shrink in their size and their cost.

Take a look at what the Washington Post and Consumer Reports has to say about emergency response systems.

Medical-alert systems can be helpful, especially for older people living alone

Some motion-sensitive pendants can detect a fall and summon help. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

By Consumer Reports October 27

You’ve probably seen the ads on TV and in magazines — especially that iconic “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” commercial that, yes, is still running. The makers of medical-alert systems promise swift help in the event that you have a medical emergency while home alone, whether it’s a fall or a heart attack, stroke or seizure. The ads are reaching a receptive audience: Sales of med-alert services are growing and are expected to continue doing so as the baby boom generation ages.

Should you consider buying one, for either yourself or an aging parent who spends time alone? Here’s a quick guide on what the systems offer and what to look for when you shop:

Make the most of technology

Medical-alert systems were introduced in the 1970s as simple push-button devices worn around the neck. They summoned help by signaling a base station connected to a home phone line that would alert a call-center operator. Today’s systems are still wearable, but you can also mount help buttons throughout the home and install devices that allow for two-way voice communication with call centers. Some companies offer motion-sensitive pendants that can detect a fall and automatically place a call for help.

Who needs one? Most buyers purchase a system for an aging parent who lives alone and might have difficulty getting help quickly. That person might be at a heightened risk for falls because of poor eyesight or memory changes, says Barbara Resnick, a professor of nursing at the University of Maryland and a past president of the American Geriatrics Society. The systems can also be useful in a non-emergency situation where a person doesn’t need an ambulance but does need help. The call center will alert a preselected relative or friend who can assist.

What to look for

If you’re in the market for a medical alert system (expect to pay around $30 a month for the basic service), the experts consulted by Consumer Reports said the best ones meet all or most of the following criteria:

● It works for a user’s specific disability. For example, a stroke survivor may need a device he or she can activate with one hand.

● It offers a choice of a wristband and/or neck pendant. Cords worn around the neck can pose a strangulation risk; wristbands might irritate people with skin conditions.

● It includes help buttons that can be wall-mounted near the floor in multiple rooms in case the user falls and isn’t wearing the pendant.

● It offers multiple choices for whom to contact if the user needs help, from emergency services to a friend or relative who lives nearby.

● It has a battery backup in case of a power failure.

● The base station can be contacted from anywhere on the user’s property — even in the yard or at the mailbox.

● The company has its own monitoring center, located in the United States, and employs its own trained emergency operators (rather than contracting that function out).

● The monitoring center has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a nonprofit safety and consulting company.

Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of United States Inc.

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