Archive for November 2016

Another Housing Option

If you live in an area where family does not live as close as desired you might have to think about what you want your living situation to be as you need a little more assistance.  Think back to your college years when you lived with roommates.  Why not consider that again?  Roommates can provide each other with a lot of benefits like company, help with activities of daily living, and support.  You can also get to know neighbors if you like the area you live in and ask them for assistance from time to time.  The article below shares a story of senior roommates that might get your wheels turning.


Aging in Place With a Little Help from Roommates, Neighbors and Teenagers

by HomeAdvisor

neighborhood Seniors without the support network of family members or caregivers who are still intent on aging in place might find inspiration from the 1980’s sitcom “The Golden Girls.” Turns out, the over 50 television roommates Blanche Devereaux, Rose Nylund and Dorothy Zbornak were on to something – living together in retirement in their fictional Miami home – that shared senior living can be an affordable, safe and comfortable living arrangement.

As a matter of fact, a growing number of baby boomers are turning to shared living as an aging in place housing option. A 2014 AARP analysis of census data found approximately 132,000 households and 490,000 women over the age of 50 living with non-romantic peers. According to other stats compiled by AARP, one-out-of-three baby boomers will face old age without a spouse, women, on average, live about five years longer than men and since 1990, the overall divorce rate for the 50-plus demographic has doubled.

“One of the things I like the most is that when I walk in at night somebody says ‘how was your day?’ and there’s someone there to chit chat with,” says Bonnie Moore, founder of the Golden Girls Network in Bowie, Maryland near Baltimore. The company connects older women across the country and helps them find roommates in their area through a national database.

Moore, 70, started Golden Girls Network after divorcing her husband in 2008 and simultaneously losing all the equity in her five-bedroom home during one of the worst recessions in U-S history. The retired lawyer now lives with three roommates and plans to stay in her house for as long as possible.

“At that point in 2008, it was not a common thing for mature women to be living together but it was something I needed to do to save my house,” says Moore. “I realized there were a lot of women like me – middle aged, suddenly divorced and with not enough money. Women in my age group expected to be married and have a house with white picket fence and everything would be rosy. But that has not been happening for us.”

Golden Girls Network launched its database in 2014 and has registered 1,240 people in 48 states. Two-thirds of those want to be roommates and about a third have homes available.

“You don’t want to be alone. Loneliness is probably one of the biggest factors in having difficulties as you age in place,” says Moore. “There are physical factors like getting sick or falling down and you need someone to call an ambulance for you or take you to the emergency room. It’s just very difficult to navigate the older you get. And so the value of having roommates is that there’s someone there if you need them.”

Moore’s written a book called How to Start a Golden Girls Home with tips to help make your home attractive to roommates, questions to ask in a roommate interview and other advice and guidance about seniors sharing homes.

Another aging in place innovation is happening in the Baby Boomer capital of the US – Denver, Colorado – where Boomers make up nearly 33-percent of the city’s total population of 2.4 million people. A Little Help uses the ‘Village’ model by connecting people who live nearby as neighbors whether they are aging in place or not. The program promotes interdependence across generations.

“One of the reasons folks want to age in place is because they want to be part of the mix in their neighborhoods and places they’ve chosen to live. And in the mix means there’s a mixture of folks,” says A Little Help Executive Director Paul Ramsey. “Elder care facilities are very homogeneous and Denver – like Baltimore and Austin – is extremely gentrified, so there are people who’ve lived on the same street for 50 or 60 years who don’t know anyone on their block. We partner with schools, scout troops and professional organizations to help make introductions to seniors in particular area.”

A Little Help’s Teen Team program also pairs middle and high school students with aging in place seniors who share their experience, wisdom and life stories with the students. The teens build relationships with their senior neighbors while helping with household chores, yard work or technology.

“Our elders know they have wisdom to share, a story to tell and a skill set to give to the younger generation. And for the teens, it’s an experience they’re not getting anywhere else. I think that has injected a huge amount of energy and reciprocity into the community.”

Research conducted in areas around the world where people live the longest shows that those who live longer, healthier lives do so by having close relationships with neighbors and by constantly finding new purpose as they grow older.

“There are several people who are in their late 70’s or early 80’s who are some of our best volunteers and staff. The give and take makes them feel essential,” says Ramsey.

A Little Help also connects senior members with a variety of services such as transportation, landscaping and home repair by coordinating vetted service providers and neighbor volunteers.

In August, Colorado’s governor announced formation of a Strategic Planning Group on Aging Issues. The group’s goal is to identify resources to help meet the needs of the state’s aging population in areas of housing, healthcare, diversity and transportation.

Ramsey, who serves as Chairman of Denver’s Commission on Aging, says it’s never too early to start preparing for aging in place. “You need to figure out who the best allies for you are, so that you’re educated and that the conversation that you’re having with your loved ones comes from a place of strength not weakness. The more knowledgeable you are and the more connected you are to experts in the field, the more adept you’re going to be at navigating the aging process and aging in place.”

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Staying Active As You Age

Exercise and participating in healthy activities is important at all ages.  For seniors, however, it is especially important because after retirement your life starts to slow down and your whole daily routine changes.  Good news is there are a lot of options (for people of all ages) to help keep an active lifestyle in your new routine.  This article helps you get the ball rolling to plan how to keep an active life after retirement and highlights the benefits of doing so.

    Retirement: The payoffs of an active lifestyle

Some people are planning ahead for their physical fitness in retirement just like they plan for their financial fitness, says one of the country’s top national diet and exercise experts. And that’s as it should be, he says.

If you start a few years before retirement, says James Hill, executive director of the the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Aurora, Colo., you’ll be ready to go when you do retire; most people can make a lot of progress toward getting in better shape in a matter of a few months.

“We are getting more and more people coming to us to prepare for an active life in retirement,” says Hill, co-author of State of Slim: Fix Your Metabolism and Drop 20 Pounds in 8 Weeks on the Colorado Diet.

Recent research reveals that Baby Boomers know how important physical activity is for a healthy retirement. Boomers say the most important factors for maintaining good health in retirement include diet and exercise plus having interests that keep them active, according to a survey conducted for Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave.

USA TODAY talked to Hill about:

The financial benefits of being fit. Being fit can pay off financially. Research has shown that fit individuals have much less chronic disease — such as diabetes, heart disease and joint problems — and better mental health than unfit individuals, which translates into less money paid to the health care system and more for having fun.

• Physical activity trends among retirees. We are seeing that more and more retirees are envisioning an active retirement and want to make sure they are physically ready for it. Many want to travel, and when they travel they want to hike and bike and swim. Many also want to engage socially with other retirees who value fitness and active living. They realize that eating healthy is a big part of being fit as is sleeping well and managing stress.

Interestingly, while retirees know that being active is good for their health and will help them from developing chronic diseases, we are seeing more and more who want to be active because it is fun.

Popular fitness activities among retirees. The main ones we see are hiking, biking, swimming and taking various exercise classes — for example, Zumba. Yoga is very popular. And many want to continue playing tennis or golf or even soccer or hockey. While many of those retiring are already in pretty good shape and want to “tune up,” we are also seeing many who are overweight and out of shape making a decision to lose weight or to get fit.

Walking is still the most popular exercise. It is easy to do, can be done almost anywhere and does not require any special equipment.

Retirees are also very interested in healthy eating and in healthy cooking. Cooking is a great activity for retired couples.

The biggest mistake retirees make when it comes to trying to get fit. The biggest mistake is trying to do too much too soon. This is especially true in those who have decided they don’t want to be overweight and unfit any longer. They didn’t get this way overnight, and turning this around takes time and motivation. You have to really know why you want to do this. We often find one spouse who is overweight and not fit deciding that they don’t want to get left behind in retirement by their lean, fit partner.

• The danger of too much sedentary time. We now know that the time you spend being sedentary (primarily sitting) can have a negative impact on your health. If you are planning your retirement to be mostly sedentary, realize that this will increase your risk of weight gain and of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. You don’t have to overdo it with activity, but don’t overdo it with sitting either.

• His best advice for retirees. It’s all about quality of life, and the retirees we see who have committed to active living seem to be happier than those who do not. It is never too late, and don’t be discouraged if you are overweight and unfit. You can totally remake yourself over a period of several months. Pay attention to your diet and your exercise but also to making sure you sleep well and manage stress. Many wellness centers such as ours can help.

• His best advice for pre-retirees. Make a plan for getting from where you are right now to where you want to be in terms of fitness and work toward that goal. If you start a few years before retirement you will be ready to go when you do retire.