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We meet regularly with other firms serving the Massachusetts elder care and home care market to discuss how we can work together to serve our clients better. At one meeting recently, I was especially impressed with the elder law firm of Summers and Summers in Acton, MA. They are trying to think about elder law and elder care in new ways to serve a changing market. This is the kind of thinking required to address the demographic and market changes facing us today.
Summers and Summers has expanded their elder law practice to offer Geriatric Care Management services as well. Attorney Cathleen Summers is a Registered Nurse and a Geriatric Care Manager as well. We know many outstanding GCMs, but most are independent or work at hospitals or home care agencies. Combining elder law and geriatric care management is rare -- unique, in our experience -- but makes a great deal of sense. The job of a Geriatric Care Manager is to look at and to manage the "big picture" of a family's elder care needs. This usually includes estate planning and other legal services, many of which are offered on a transaction basis without developing a relationship between the law firm and the family.
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Being able to stay in the home we've lived in as we've aged is a real blessing, and almost always preferred by elders. But some homes are just not set up for aging in place -- too many stairs, bathrooms and bedrooms in the wrong part of the house to fit the elder's needs and mobility. Home modification is an option, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes low- and no-interest loans to modify the homes of elders and individuals with disabilities where there is income qualification.
Monday, January 31 at 7PM at the Gleason Library in Carlisle, MA, there is a meeting about this program. I just noticed it in the Boston Globe, following a Facebook pointer from our State Representative, Cory Atkins (isn't life in 2011 strange??!) -- you can fit in this meeting before the next snow storm starts. Download a program brochure here.
At Caring Companion, we already do far more than the industry standard to reduce the costs of health care and improve the quality of life for elders and the disabled. We provide real-time information and reports to health care professionals and families via our unique online system -- we are the only agency in the country doing this. We already place appropriate technology in homes to help reduce the number of care hours needed. Our guiding model combines our outstanding on-site caregivers with with the appropriate technology to improve care and reduce its cost.
Throughout 2011, we will demonstrate this in a series of public pilots. In partnership with some Massachusetts Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) and Councils on Aging (COAs), we will pilot promising technologies that we have identified to help at-risk elders and the disabled. Testing such technologies in elders' homes has not been done before in our region; in fact, it's seldom been done around the country. In these carefully crafted pilot studies, we will demonstrate that we can:
Striking front entries with winding front stairs... luxurious bath suits with rooms for toilet, shower and dressing... inviting sunken living rooms. These residential features add to the interest and drama. But given the aging of our population, the homes of the future with higher and more sustained value may be ones suited for aging or disabled occupants.
However, a lot of housing stock now is simply unsuitable for people with mobility or memory issues. If a family member becomes disabled due to age, illness or injury, a move to a safer environment or an often-costly home modification may become inescapable. And you'd see increased costs of home care for seniors and the disabled.
But "assisted living" can start at home: regardless of the age of the occupants, we can start right now making homes more adaptable for aging in place. This takes a shift in thinking, but it's one that will pay back the homeowner handsomely. Every time you make a lasting change to the interior or exterior of your home, answer these three questions:
Caring Companion Connections will present this talk on Thursday, May 13, 2010 from 7-8:30 PM at the Concord Carlisle-Cable TV Studio at Concord-Carlisle High School. It will be recorded for future broadcast. Hope you can be there! (Our speaker's fee will be donated to the MinuteMan Senior Services Meals-On-Wheels program).
Safety alert technology. Online communication services. Remote medical sensors. There are so many devices to help us monitor our health and communicate. And new ones on the way.
Are you confused about the new technologies to help senior citizens, the disabled and their caregivers? Some are truly beneficial to elders, the disabled, their families and caregivers, while others are mere gadgets or toys that aren't a good value. We will help you separate the real hype from the real help, allowing wiser choices in this bewildering, rapidly expanding marketplace. We will review some of the high tech tools on the market, highlighting ones we think have the ability to help you stay connected, happy, safe and healthy. Included will be remote medical monitoring devices, safety alert technology, and consumer technology customized for seniors and the disabled. You will come away better able to assess new technologies for yourself.
To Register: Call 978-318-1540 or register online for Course Number #4321 here: http://www.ace.colonial.net. Fee: $10 donation. Location: 500 Walden Street, Concord (enter the front left door where glowing Adult Education sign is showing). This event is sponsored by Concord-Carlisle Adult & Community Education.
Presenters: Jim Reynolds has been a National Practice Leader for IBM in the area of mobile and wireless technology. His family has owned and run the largest private-pay home care agencies in Florida and Kansas since 1992. Continuing the family business, he is the owner of Caring Companion Connections in Concord.
Deborah Bier, PhD, has been a health care educator, author, and wellness coach for 20 years. She holds a doctorate in counseling and has helped hundreds of individuals and families to live better with chronic illness and disability. She is the director of the Concord office of Caring Companion Connections.
Our custom app tracks iPhone/Android-toting seniors at risk of getting lost. Call for details!
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