Former First Lady Discusses Aging



Listen to what Former First Lady Laura Bush has to say about aging gracefully, her worries of aging and what she is doing to keep her mind sharp.

If You Build It, They Will Come

We are thrilled to see that just up the road from us (about a half an hour from our home office) at Western Carolina University, they are reaching all populations with higher education. What started as an idea pitched in a graduate level class is now a fully inclusive 2-year program funded by passion. Funding over 42 dreams of higher education, Ruby’s Rainbow is using University Participant Programs to bring students with Down Syndrome to college.

Ali and Zach have found their niche in Cullowhee. With natural supports, independent living and education, these students are making friends, pursuing their passions and building community in a way that every college student does.

Take a look at the whole story about a hopeful mom’s trip to visit Western Carolina to find Zach and Ali thriving at Western Carolina with the help of Ruby’s Rainbow.

HomeWatch Caregivers and SimplyHome: Partnering to provide best care

Assistive technology is available in order to enhance the home care experience, not to replace it. SimplyHome collaborates with HomeWatch Caregivers to ensure that people are receiving the best possible care. Our technology is allowing the caregiver to focus on what is important, the individual, while relying on the technology to tell them when someone has missed a dosage of medicine or if someone has fallen in the bathroom. Our technology allows agencies to cut costs for families during those “just in case” hours. HomeWatch Caregivers’ passion to create an innovative, all inclusive way of caring for someone excites us!

The Technology & Home Care Connection;A Collaborative Approach to Aging in Place between SimplyHome and HomeWatch CareGivers WNC

The vision of HomeWatch CareGivers WNC is to become recognized as a community leader in integrative and innovative in-home personal care and client wellness services. We are committed to community collaboration and partnerships as the most practical and affordable way to solve the complex issues facing our rapidly growing population of seniors.

We are proud to announce our newest collaboration with a wonderfully creative company, SimplyHome, located here in Asheville. SimplyHome provides affordable and dignified options for independent living and aging in place by developing assistive technology that is adaptable as individual needs change over time. Some of their products include the SimplyHome System, which proactively alerts caregivers and loved ones of changes in activities of daily living, personal emergency response systems (PERS), medication dispensers, and a GPS Watch. SimplyHome designs, builds and utilizes enabling technologies to create customized independent living solutions while lowering costs for families and funders.

When one studies the demographics of our area, it is clear that new approaches are needed to help our seniors age in place at home. Also elders who are living at home longer often present with a more complex array of medical and mental health conditions. This presents a multitude of challenges, including offering affordable models of care.

According to a recent Time Magazine article, ‘By 2032, Americans over age 65 will outnumber those under age 15, which means that elders will be short on caregivers. Nearly 90% of those over age 65 say they want to remain at home as long as possible.’

‘Research firm ABI forecasts 42 million wearable fitness and health devices will be shipped in 2014, up from 32 million in 2013. Doctors and researchers see…a revolution that could change everything from how they care for recovering surgery patients to the way they administer certain medications. Tracking devices may … ultimately change the way we relate to our own health.’ Time Magazine Nov 24 2014.

Professional in-home caregivers can prevent injurious falls, infections and hospitalizations and can contribute to faster recoveries from surgery and medical procedures. Additionally, a compassionate and skilled caregiver can provide companionship, personal care and community connection, which helps elders stay fit physically, emotionally and spiritually, alleviating feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression while also protecting them from potential victimization.

Where in home safety monitoring is needed and connected with a 24 hour call center, it is possible to have part time home care and full time peace of mind. In a unique service delivery approach, especially for those individuals who do not have family or loved ones nearby, HomeWatch CareGivers can be designated as the first response point person for those situations where immediate help is needed.

The founders of SimplyHome, Drue and Allen Ray and their staff have been creating supportive technology solutions for elders as well as individuals with disabilities since 1989. Their compassion, dedication, professionalism and level of expertise is evident as soon as one meets them.

Allen Ray, CEO and President, is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. He is an advisory board member to the college of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Alabama and an advisor to several states on the use and funding of enabling technology through Medicaid waivers. Drue Ray, Vice President, was the 2014 recipient of the Asheville area Chamber of Commerce 2014 Women Entrepreneurs Best in Business Award. Drue’s commitment and vision have inspired others and contributed to legislation that has set the standard for the use of assistive technology in community integrated residential services.

“Understanding that complex problems call for innovative solutions, we recognized that by combining SimplyHome technology with HomeWatch CareGivers visits, we can provide the greatest level of care at the most affordable total cost. It became a natural fit to enter into a collaborative relationship with SimplyHome. We are proud to work with Drue and Allen Ray and their SimplyHome team to offer creative options to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe at home”, stated Ernie Konkoli, President, HomeWatch CareGivers. HomeWatch CareGivers and SimplyHome are always available to conduct a free needs assessment and develop an integrated and client customized plan that will provide optimal support in the most cost effective manner.

Companies in Asheville Give Back

Companies in Asheville Give Back

The city’s charitable giving and volunteerism outstrip its size

By Laura Hill on January 22, 2015 at 1:50 pm EST

“This is a caring community, and you can see it in big and small ways.”
Elisabeth Bocklet, Director of Marketing and Communications, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County.

Asheville has a well-earned reputation for many things, from craft beer and a hopping culinary scene to its rich history and gorgeous natural setting. But perhaps less well known, though equally brag worthy, is the area’s commitment to taking care of its citizens.

Measuring volunteerism and charitable giving, in 2014 the financial website NerdWallet rated Asheville 10th on its list of most generous cities, noting that Asheville residents donated a median 6.4 percent of their income to charity, and that 32.3 percent of Ashevillians volunteered.

“That’s an astounding figure for a city this size,” says Elisabeth Bocklet, director of marketing and communications for United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County. “This is a caring community, and you can see it in big and small ways.”

Any way you slice it, the giving looks good. Volunteers donated a median of 37.8 hours per year. Through United Way’s Hands On Asheville-Buncombe volunteer center alone, 3,000 people gave more than 22,000 hours of volunteer time in 2013.

Asheville’s Tradition of Caring

Bocklet attributes Asheville’s generosity to two main factors: a tradition of people taking care of their own and something special about the city’s culture.

“A lot of people come here wanting to connect with one another in a meaningful way,” she says. “Both are equally important, and that combination is very much in play.”

In addition to individual giving, Asheville businesses do their part. The accounting firm Johnson Price Sprinkle, for example, supports Habitat for Humanity, contributing 1,150 volunteer hours from nearly all its employees. The company also supports the UNCA Family Business Forum and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Laura Webb, founder and president of Webb Investment Services, serves on the boards of Friends of the Smokies – her great-grandfather was instrumental in establishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, the Asheville Chamber and more.

Ashevillian Drue Ray and her husband, Allen Ray, created a business from their passion for helping physically and mentally challenged people live outside institutions. Their SimplyHome business, now a national brand, designs custom systems that help people live safely and comfortably in their own homes.

“Independence really allows challenged individuals to experience life,” Ray says. “Things like ‘What time of day do I want to get up? What time do I want to eat?’ The simple things make life very, very full, and are so appreciated.”

Businesses Give to United Way

United Way has benefited from a variety of giving campaigns. Eaton, a top corporate donor, hosts an annual golf tournament and sends many employees to the organization’s Day of Caring. In 2014, Asheville Brewing created 17 kegs of “United Way Pale Ale,” donating $2,000 from its sale. In 2013 and 2014, Paramount Kia of Asheville donated a brand new Kia Soul to help raise money for UW’s community investment fund. And in October 2014, as a “bonding” exercise, 90 employees of the National Telephone Cooperative Association gave 400 hours of time to Enka Middle Community School, working on beautification and educational projects.

“That’s a real gift,” Bocklet says. “We are just so proud of all the ways people get involved, no matter at what level – meeting these people is exciting and energizing for us.”


See original article here

Innovation Has Nothing To Do With Age

Drue Ray, VP of SimplyHome, is passionate about independent living.

She says, “I have shared with you all my belief that disabilities shouldn’t preclude independence. But, in reading this article, it helped me understand why, even though I believed this since the rip ole age of 13, it took an additional 30 years to begin to understand how this could be accomplished. Makes the work we do together all the more exciting when I look at our collective potential!!”

Take a look at the article that helped her understand how independence can be accomplished and why innovation really does not have anything to do with age.

Innovation Has Nothing to Do With Age
Mar 9, 2015

A lot of people assume that establishing a culture of innovation would require bringing in young people. They are wrong. Innovation has nothing to do with age.I was delighted to read this statement of John Levis, global chief Innovation officer of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, in the Wall Street Journal last week, which really supports my own view and experience in practice.

Lewis states: “We get out-of-the box ideas from all generations. What was important was convincing others that it’s OK to risk failure, that trying out new ideas that fail is even a positive. As I said earlier, for an organization to have a culture of innovation, the talent and performance model should not only tolerate experimentation and failure, but also reward those who advance innovative thinking, regardless of the outcome”.

The view that innovation has nothing to do with age is supported by research of Benjamin Jones of Northwestern University. He states that a 55-year-old and even a 65-year-old have significantly more innovation potential than a 25-year-old. He based his conclusions on data on Nobel Prize winners and great inventors.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I am 55 and have been working for around 30 years now. When I reflect on my personal skills of being innovative and leading innovation, I think I even became a better innovator when growing older, for three reasons:

1. I had to learn the patterns before breaking them. As junior manager in the food industry I was very eager to learn at the companies I worked for. I learned what made them successful in the past. And to be effective, I adapted myself to “how things are done around here”. Only as I got older I dared to challenge and break these patterns at the companies I worked for.

2. I learned from my failures. Breaking patterns wasn’t always successful of course. I learned continously from my mistakes though. This created a far better business compass of what will work and what will not. Of course I am still wrong, but less than I used to be :-).

3. Grey hair helps convincing. In organizations you can invent alone but you can’t innovate alone. You need a lot of others in an organization to get from an idea to the market. And it takes an awful lot of time too. Getting older and growing grey hair helped me in getting the confidence of others to follow me and my innovative method.
So what about you? Are you getting also a better innovator with age?

See original article here.

Pope Greets Children With Special Needs

Special Needs Kids with Pope

Pope Francis interacted with children on the autism spectrum as he encouraged people everywhere to be open to the needs of people on the spectrum. He is hopeful that this will help to break “the isolation and, in many cases also the stigma” attached to disorders on the autism spectrum.

One parent said “For us, we are parents of a child affected with autism, this meeting was very important. It was as an outstretched hand through a problem that is very often not considered in the right way.”

This is an incredible example of how we need to see people for who they are, not for what they are impacted by. With over 7,000 people in the Vatican for this interaction, the Pope was able to show his love and support for the autism spectrum community along with people of all abilities and talents in a big way.

See the full interactions of the Pope with special needs children here.


Baby boom generation just refuses to quit

“Baby boom generation just refuses to quit” by Sarah Murray talks about the determination and longevity of the baby boomer generation. It appears as though the baby boomers have no intentions of slowing down any time soon. Murray discusses the benefits of having employees of the “Baby Boom” generation, the benefits that those employees can take advantage of and why it is important we keep an eye on them. Whether it is on account of insufficient savings or simply the desire to continue to work, the baby boomers are making it seem like they are in the workplace to stay, for now.

 An office man looking out the window

Baby boom generation just refuses to quit

Sarah Murray

In 1889, when Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, introduced the first state pension scheme for those over 70, average life expectancy was 45.

Since then, increasing longevity and improved health have led people to extend their working lives and are calling compulsory retirement ages into doubt. As seismic demographic shifts transform the global workforce, companies are asking themselves whether and how they should keep this array of seasoned talent in employment.

“Healthy adult life, which we used to think of as coming to an end some time in our 60s, we’re now seeing extending well into our 70s,” says Sarah Harper, director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing at Oxford university.

Increased life expectancy is not the only reason people are abandoning retirement in favour of a second career.

For some, financial pressures drive the need to work longer. The ability of governments to fund state pensions is diminishing, and some have raised pension ages. Many baby boomers have not saved sufficiently for retirement and, in addition, investment returns have fallen. This has created a financial imperative to work longer.

Read the rest of Murray’s article here