02.07.11

Seniors on Facebook

Posted in Elder Care, Elderly Care at 10:45 pm by admin

Facebook started as a fun way for those fortunate enough to escape high school reunions to look up former classmates, ironically enough giving them reason to actually want to attend the next reunion. Far beyond searching for former school chums, now Facebook is become a social networking pillar vying for an hour of everyone’s day as we look to connect with just about everyone we ever wanted to know. Just a point and click and voila! Check out the latest medical update on Cousin Esther, find out what Charlie from third grade is doing these days, and most importantly have instant access to those oh-so-adorable snapshots of the grandkids’ trip to the zoo last Friday, including your great-granddaughter’s first look at a giraffe.

Did I say great-granddaughter?!? Yes, the median age of Facebook is shifting rapidly as more and more seniors are joining the ranks of Facebook users. Recognizing their residents’ vital need to stay connected to family and friends to engage in healthy emotional and intellectual stimulation, many assisted living facilities are now offering courses on how to use Facebook. For many seniors, accessing Facebook has become an immensely important part of their day.
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Benefits of Facebook for Seniors

What are the potential benefits for seniors who want to use Facebook for social networking?
Well, staying connected with family and friends can be tremendously uplifting for seniors. Facebook is a great way to see photos, read status updates, and drop a quick note to family, friends, and acquaintances. Maintaining that personal connection is so important for seniors, and Facebook is an easy way to do that.

Any words of caution for seniors who use Facebook?
Like anything on the internet, using discretion while on Facebook is a must. Keeping the following in mind will help you navigate the massive Facebook network safely:

1. Carefully check out people who claim to be old friends or acquaintances and be sure that you really do know them before accepting their friend request. There are many scammers and hackers out their hoping to take advantage of seniors on Facebook trying to get personal information, even hacking into your account or sending you personal messages apparently from friends who desperately need you to wire money to help them out of a jam. To look at more of the top Facebook scams see allfacebook.com.

2. Be wise about how much personal information you display in your status updates or in personal messages. Revealing specific location, phone numbers, addresses, planned vacations, trips, and financial matters is not a good idea. Charlie from third grade might still be a nice guy, but you never know who else has changed in the last 50 years.

3. Be wary of special deals and promotions offered on Facebook, just like you would on any other website. Their ads are effectively targeted and personalized based on your demographic information.

4. Don’t insert any personal information in any games or quizes. Scammers will post quizes and require personal information like a telephone number in order to get quiz results.

5. Never download programs or applications claiming to be for Facebook unless you are sure you are still on the official Facebook page. Hackers will place redirect pages that look just the real thing in applications, games, or quizes. Check the address URL to make sure you are still on the official site.

Stay connected. Be safe.

And of course, if you need to elderly care housing or some other type of TX Assisted Living, we can help you with that. Enter your info in the tool above, and you’ll be on your way!

Dancing: A Great Way for Seniors to Exercise

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, Elderly Care, exercises at 4:51 pm by admin

In the past, we have chronicled some unique ways for senior citizens to stay fit. We talked about special classes for Pilates and yoga classes especially for seniors. Both of these activities are great for increasing flexibility and encouraging overall health and a sense of well being. But neither are going to be sufficient as cardio workouts. And there are many seniors out there who crave the kinds of athletic activities that would make them sweat a bit. Like the in the old days.

With this in mind, let’s look at senior dancing.

Dance Events for Seniors

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Today, I saw an announcement for seniors in the Chicago area. The honors society at a local high school is hosting a special dance especially for senior citizens. This is becoming more common lately. Most seniors remember the days of their own high school dances. This is a great opportunity to bring those days back in a fun, exciting way. And it’s a great way to get some exercise.

Even more common are dances at local senior community centers. (Check your local senior center for opportunities in your area.)

Dance Workouts for seniors

Seniors are rediscovering not only “prom style” dancing, but also other variations, like senior line dancing. Here is one site, Dancing For the Dream, that highlights line dancing for seniors, and encourages them to get involved, as it is a fun way to mingle and to get exercise. This particular group holds seminars all throughout the country. They teach workshops, have live music, and some great information.

Is line dancing not your thing? Lots of seniors won’t jive with the country music theme, which is understandable, but they still want to dance. Here is a site that features a wide variety of senior dance and workout videos. They are not all exclusively for seniors, but many are, and all feature workouts that are terrific for seniors–low impact workouts. Everything from Tai Chi to water workouts. Very helpful stuff!

Ballroom Dancing Still a Senior Favorite

Of course, many seniors cut their teeth on ballroom dancing many decades ago, and there is no substitute for a good Foxtrot. A good Waltz, or even a Rumba! How can they get their fix? Some dance groups travel to senior housing complexes to put on night time events for residents. This group, based out of Washington State will visit an assisted living center or retirement center and teach classes or put on music from eras of old. There are more and more of these popping up around the country.

The group’s rationale is the health of the senior. Dancing, they say, is a great way to relieve stress, lose weight, release endorphins, and increase your heart health. We agree with all these things. Of course, many exercises will help you accomplish those goals, but they are not all as fun as dancing is.

It is a common thing, by the way for modern senior housing facilities like nursing homes or assisted living facilities to have fun activities planned for their residents. If you need to find elderly care housing in your local city, search using the tool at the top of this page.

02.03.11

Finding Senior Tax Help in Texas

Posted in Assisted Living, Assisted Living Facilities, Elder Care, Elderly Care at 2:48 pm by admin

As we mentioned in a previous article, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has been providing free tax help to seniors for decades now. And in recent years their Tax Aide service, provided by volunteer tax preparers all around the country, including all around Texas. Who can take advantage of this valuable service? Most seniors, actually, can apply for this type of elderly care. Those who are either low or middle income seniors who need basic tax help can come by. Those who are high income, or who have complicated returns are advised to seek professional tax help (let’s not trouble the volunteers with something that will take up too much of their time and effort, after all. Better to take those returns to H & R Block or some other professional firm.)

So where can you find help with your taxes? The AARP has set up centers where seniors can come by and get help all around the state, in every major metropolitan area. Pay close attention to the hours listed, and the specific addresses. We will not list every location here by any means, but we will list one or two from each major city.

Dallas Area Tax Aide Sites

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FOREST GREEN LIBRARY
Address: 9015 FOREST LN
DALLAS, TX 75243-4114
Telephone: (214) 670-1335
Hours: Thursday only at 12:00PM-4:00PM
Walk-ins are welcome

METRO CREST SOCIAL SERVICES CENTER
Address: 1002 S BROADWAY ST
CARROLLTON, TX 75006-7214
Telephone: (972) 446-2100
Hours: Wed 12:00PM-5:00PM
Sat 9:00AM-12:00PM
Please call for an appointment

Houston Area Tax Aide Sites

MONTROSE LIBRARY
Address: 4100 MONTROSE BLVD
HOUSTON, TX 77006-4936
Telephone: (832) 393-1800
Site Schedule: Mon 2:00PM-6:00PM
Thu 2:00PM-6:00PM
Walk-ins are Welcome

HEIGHTS LIBRARY
Address: 1302 HEIGHTS BLVD
HOUSTON, TX 77008-4209
Telephone: (832) 393-1810
Site Schedule: Tue 12:00PM-4:00PM
Wed 12:30PM-4:30PM
Walk-ins are Welcome

San Antonio Area Tax Aide Sites

WONDERLAND MALL
Address: IH-410 AT FREDERICKSBURG RD
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78201-6530
Telephone: (210) 385-9833
Site Schedule: Wed 9:00AM-4:00PM
Walk-ins Welcome

BOB ROSS SENIOR CENTER
Address: 2219 BABCOCK RD
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78229-4412
Telephone: (210) 207-5300
Site Schedule: Tue 9:00AM-1:00PM
Thu 9:00AM-1:00PM
Fri 9:00AM-1:00PM
Appointment Required

Austin Area Tax Aide Site

SOUTH AUSTIN MULTI PURPOSE CTR
Address: 2508 DURWOOD ST
AUSTIN, TX 78704-5444
Telephone: (512) 972-6840
Site Schedule: Wed 12:00PM-4:00PM
Walk-ins Welcome

RUIZ LIBRARY
Address: 1600 GROVE BLVD
AUSTIN, TX 78741-3402
Telephone: (512) 974-7500
Site Schedule: Mon 12:00PM-4:00PM
Wed 12:00PM-4:00PM
Walk-ins Welcome

Fort Worth Area Tax Aide Sites

FORT WORTH CENTRAL LIBRARY
Address: 500 W 3RD ST
FORT WORTH, TX 76102-7305
Telephone: (817) 871-1133
Site Schedule: Wed 10:00AM-2:00PM
Sat 10:00AM-2:00PM
Appointment: Appointment Required

Shamblee Branch Library
Address: 1062 EVANS AVE
FORT WORTH, TX 76104-5135
Telephone: (817) 392-5580
Site Schedule: Mon 3:30PM-7:30PM
Appointment Required

El Paso Area Tax Aide Sites

HILOS DE PLATA SENIOR CENTER
Address: 4451 DELTA DR
EL PASO, TX 79905-4316
(915) 533-3207
Site Schedule: Tue 10:00AM-3:00PM
Walk-ins Welcome

Center Name: El Paso Memorial Park Senior Center
Address: 1800 BYRON ST
EL PASO, TX 79930-5104
Telephone: (915) 562-4260
Site Schedule: Mon 10:00AM-3:00PM
Wed 10:00AM-3:00PM
Walk-ins Welcome

Tyler Area Tax Aide Site

Tyler First Presbyterian Church
Address: 230 W RUSK ST
TYLER, TX 75701-165
(903) 581-1809
Site Schedule: Tue 8:30AM-4:30PM
Wed 8:30AM-12:30PM
Thu 8:30AM-4:30PM
Fri 8:30AM-12:30PM
Sat 10:30AM-2:30PM

University Christian Church
Address: 3500 OLD OMEN RD
TYLER, TX 75707-2110
(903) 581-1809
Wed 9:30AM-1:30PM
Walk-ins Welcome

Odessa Area Tax Aide Sites

Odessa Northside Senior Center
Address: 1225 ADAMS AVE
ODESSA, TX 79761-4116
(432) 337-5281
Thu 9:00AM-2:00PM
Appointment Required

Lubbock Area Tax Aide Sites

LUBBOCK SENIOR CITIZEN CENTER
Address: 2001 19TH ST
LUBBOCK, TX 79401-4605
(806) 687-6327
Site Schedule: Wed 9:00AM-3:00PM
Thu 9:00AM-3:00PM
Walk-ins welcome

If you need further help finding TX Assisted Living or other type of senior housing, enter the desired city and care level in the square at the very top of this page.

02.02.11

Defining Levels of Care using ADL’s

Posted in Assisted Living, Assisted Living Facilities, Assisted Living Safety, Elder Care, Elderly Care at 1:21 pm by admin

How can a senior citizen determine the type of care he or she needs? This is not necessarily an obvious question. The elderly care industry has changed significantly in recent years. One size does not necessarily fit all anymore. In reality, it never did. Today, there are seemingly endless possibilities for care. And every senior is different. So again I ask, how does a senior know what level of care to pursue?

Let’s start with the most obvious criteria: medical help.

If your loved one needs full time care because of a serious medical condition, they will almost certainly need nursing home care. At very least, they will need a caregiver at home to be with them all the time. But what about those seniors who are not battling with a disease? What about those who don’t need that level of oversight? What about those who just require a bit of help during the day? Fortunately, there is a way that the senior care community thinks through this issue. They consider how a senior can perform activities for daily living.

What are ADL’s?

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Activities for Daily Living are those things that any healthy person does constantly during the day and never has to think about. They are essential activities that a person needs to be able to perform in order to live alone. They include things like eating, bathing, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, and getting out of bed. A person who cannot do these things by himself or herself should not be living alone. Assisted Living staff is able to help with these activities.

There is one other set of criteria called “Instrumental Activities of Daily Living,” or IADL’s. These are more complex activities that a person needs to do to function fully in society, but not necessarily for survival. They include traveling, preparing meals, cleaning the house, taking medicine, balancing the checkbook, etc. Does a senior have to be able to do these things alone in order to live alone? No. Family or professional caregivers can often pick up some of the slack for these things.

If your loved one is unable to perform many of the activities on these lists, you might want to check into assisted living options in your area. Assisted Living facilities are designed to care for these very issues. A person does not need to be seriously ill to live in an assisted living facility. These communities are for exactly what they say: to assist a person with their living. Help with ADL’s and IADL’s are what set these facilities apart from retirement facilities (which usually give no help with basic ADL’s) and nursing homes (which help with virtually everything, assuming that the senior needs help with everything.)

To find elderly care or assisted living in your area, enter your city name and type of care desired above, and get access to lists of facilities all around the country.

02.01.11

Senior Villages: A New Way to Age in Place

Posted in Assisted Living, Assisted Living Facilities, Elder Care, Elderly Care at 1:09 pm by admin

The elderly care world continues to expand and evolve to meet seniors exactly where they are at. Gone are the days of “one size fits all” elderly care where one company determines what type of care all its residents will have. Seniors have different needs and different preferences. And one preference remains constant in a majority of seniors year after year: they want to stay at home if they can possibly help it.

Aside from those with chronic and serious medical issues, many seniors are able to stay at home, from a physical standpoint. What they need is some daily assistance. Many can’t get groceries, or can’t do housework. And many need daily help or reminders with taking medicines–things that can be accomplished with a visit from a nurse. These seniors often end up selling their house and moving into an assisted living facility because they see no other way. Assisted living can meet those needs and can put them in an environment where they can actually be part of a community.
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But there is a new, cutting edge idea that is spreading throughout the senior care community that could actually allow seniors in this position to stay home while having those needs met. Some call it “virtual senior communities,” others call them “senior villages,” but the idea is the same. What if groups of seniors who lived near one another could stay in their homes but form a sort of club? What if they figured out the types of resources that could meet their needs, and decided to hire people who could help meet all of those: home health care givers who could make rounds to their different houses every day; people to go buy and deliver groceries to their homes; drivers who could be on call to take the members to various appointments? And what if these seniors, living in the comfort of their own homes, organized social activities with one another in the process?

Here is one example in the Boston area. It is called Beacon Hill Village, and they offer services to seniors who live in their own homes. The communities who are experimenting with this idea have found good success. The “senior village” is able to accomplish much of what a retirement home or assisted living community would. Home health care is becoming increasingly flexible as senior franchises are spreading all over the country. That flexibility is opening up doors for this idea to be possible. As senior volunteer groups continue to pop up, and caregiving companies expand, it gets easier. And the social gathering part is the easiest of all.

Besides the obvious benefit of staying at home, there is another huge plus in this idea: the costs. It is far cheaper to be a part of one of these communities than to live full time in an assisted living home.

So can “senior villages” work anywhere? Probably not. Many seniors are just not capable of accomplishing the activities for daily living (getting out of bed, washing their bodies, changing their clothes, etc.) that are required for independence, and a once-a-day visit from a nurse or caregiver just will not be enough. But for those who can swing it, the idea will take off, especially in neighborhoods where there enough seniors to make the idea happen. However, the onus is going to be on seniors themselves to organize these communities. There is no company that comes in and does this, and that is exactly the point. So if a senior is willing to take leadership in the idea and get it going, it can meet the needs of many others in the community. I don’t expect these communities to take the place of assisted living any time soon, but now that the door is open, people will walk through it.

If you need to find other senior housing or TX Assisted Living, use the silver box at t he top of this page.