5 Tips To Help You Live Happily Ever After At Home For The Rest Of Your Life – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Nobody’s first choice is to live in a nursing home. Most people prefer not to move in with adult children or other loved ones either. Even if an older adult is open to the idea of a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) or assisted living, they are very expensive options. Aging in place is often considered the most cost-effective option for those who are healthy. Though many older adults will eventually reside in senior living residences, most would prefer to live at home for as long as possible. Here are 5 tips to help you do just that:

  1. Choose your home for aging in place carefully. Living near reputable healthcare institutions and providers you trust is crucial. Having a social support system nearby is also vital. Finally, having a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor is a huge help. Many older adults opt to move into a rancher or a condo with an elevator so navigating stairs will never be an issue. While this is a great strategy, some older persons want to remain in their “forever home” indefinitely. Remaining in the multi-story home in which you raised your family is a viable option if there is a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. If an older person becomes less ambulatory, these features make the difference between being able to age in place or not. Ideally, the older person living in a multi-story home will also have the laundry machine on the first floor as well.
  2. Understand normal aging and prepare for it. In order to age in place successfully, it helps to understand the normal aging process. All of our senses and organs become a bit less efficient. Even when no disease or abnormal conditions are present, all of us experience these changes. For example, all older adults are more at risk for falls because of diminished reaction time which happens to everyone. Older adults desiring to age in place should be mindful of anything that would exacerbate fall risk in the private home: throw rugs, dim lighting, clutter, etc.
  3. Join or start a Village. Villages are grass-roots community based organizations that help support members who wish to age in place. To find out if there is one in your community or how to start one, check out www.vtvnetwork.org.
  4. Embrace technology. Life Alert systems are quite effective in detecting falls, especially the ones that are waterproof and can be worn in the bath or shower. Wearable technologies like Jawbone Up, Fitbit and Lively Safety Watch can allow family members to track some of the older person’s health habits. For example, the family member and older person aging in place can both wear the Jawbone Up or Fitbit, link their accounts and see data like how many steps the other person has taken or the quality of the other person’s sleep. Not only does this increase information that family has about an older loved one’s lifestyle but it may encourage the older person to be less sedentary and embrace better sleep habits. The Lively Safety Watch includes sensors that can be attached to the refrigerator and other objects in the home (e.g. a bathroom door) to determine how often the older person has been eating or when she uses the restroom.
  5. Look into home care options now. You may not need help with chores or taking a shower right today but someday you might.  Get to know the home care options in your community early—before you need home care services.

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Who Will Take Care of You When You’re Old? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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My husband and I don’t have kids. Finally, now that we are in our mid-forties, people have stopped asking when we will. But for a very long time, when we indicated that we didn’t have children, people—even strangers—would inquire, “But who will be there for you when you get older?” Frequently my response was, “We have long term care insurance,” with a smile. That usually shut down the conversation.

Of course, such discussions have always reminded me that our older adulthood will differ from peers who will have adult children, grandchildren and possibly even great-grandchildren. While having children does not guarantee anyone a caregiver someday, we know that we may have less social support than other older adults.

Because of this, when I first heard about Joy Loverde’s new book Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?, I immediately said to my husband, “We need this book.” I’m thrilled to report that this book is much more than what I was expecting. While Loverde recognizes our situation, she also reminds the reader that thinking ahead about who will support you in old age is not just an issue for the childless. Even those with many adult children should be proactive in developing a robust social network for their later years.

Loverde covers practical ideas such as how to become better at socializing (even if you consider yourself shy) so you can enjoy more social support. She also offers provocative ideas like having a funeral before you die. Repeatedly while reading Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old, I found myself thinking, “I never thought of that before!”

Though I was initially personally interested in Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old, professionally I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a more fulfilling aging experience.

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Why You Need to Buy Into the Age Diversity Movement – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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My most requested keynote title for healthcare conferences is called Navigating Communication With Different Generations: Reducing Drama And Conflict In Healthcare.  Why?  I believe it’s because many of us still haven’t bought into the concept that generational affiliation is just another way we are diverse.  Does generational affiliation define anyone?  No!  But it does influence how we think and communicate.  This goes for patients, caregivers and colleagues in the healthcare workplace.

Another reason healthcare professionals are hungry for this discussion is because a large percentage are reporting that they themselves or others in their organization are experiencing ageism or reverse ageism.  Each time I provide this keynote, I poll the audience ahead of time.  I have not encountered an audience where this was not an issue.  If healthcare professionals feel ageism and reverse ageism from colleagues and managers, I can’t imagine that this doesn’t also impact our patients and their caregivers.

If you want to reduce drama and conflict in your healthcare workplace while providing better service to patients and clients, consider the acronym AGE.  Accept that generational diversity is part of what makes all of us unique.  Get real about your biases.  Many of us have bias against another generation.  Try to work through it and understand it.  If you stereotype a generation, educate yourself about the facts.  Finally, Expect commonalities among persons who are Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z.  Just know that generation doesn’t totally define them.

If your organization could benefit from a deeper dive into this topic, check out this page:  http://jenerationshealth.com/keynotes/

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

 

 

Is Reverse Ageism A Problem In Your Workplace? By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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You wouldn’t dream of making racist or sexist remarks in the workplace, right?  So why do some workplaces tolerate ageist comments? Older adults are no strangers to this phenomenon but reverse ageism is now impacting younger employees in the workplace.  Check out Jen’s new video on how to handle reverse ageism in the workplace:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMMZ62S7Kc4&t=143s

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Want to better understand confusing legal issues when caregiving? Your no-jargon guide is finally here! – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Several months ago I ran into Jamie, an old friend who is an engineer. She’s super-smart, has a big important job and went to a very prestigious university.  Once we reconnected and she realized that I work often with caregivers, she shared her frustration with the Medicaid system.  Jamie’s father was currently taking care of her mom who was eventually going to need nursing home care.  Jamie went on to tell me that her father couldn’t believe that he had to sell their house, their cars and everything they own to make sure his wife could get care.  Quickly I explained to Jamie that he does not—and that he should immediately consult an elder law attorney to discuss how to apply for Medicaid without going bankrupt.

This incident reminded me how many educated, intelligent Americans still don’t understand the basics of how to pay for care without going broke.  When I heard about Jamie and her dad struggling, I wish  Protecting Your Assets from Probate and Long-Term Care had been available.  Fortunately it is now!

Launched just this week, Protecting Your Assets from Probate and Long-Term Care by Evan H. Farr, CELA, finally explains everything one needs to know about complex legal and financial information in plain English.  If you or your loved one own a home or have any assets whatsoever, this book will help you avoid common costly mistakes paying for elder care for yourself or a loved one.

While every individual facing paying for long term care for self or others still should consider an individual consultation with an elder law attorney, reading Protecting Your Assets from Probate and Long-Term Care ahead of time will help caregivers prepare for the meeting, which will ultimately save money, energy and time.

To buy a copy of this new book or find out more information, check out:  https://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Your-Assets-Probate-Long-Term/dp/1621535533/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1495643340&sr=8-2&keywords=evan+farr

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.