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How to evaluate the needs of a senior

Is It Time for Your Senior Loved One to Find Extra Care?

What type of senior care is right for your elderly loved one? If you’ve got an elderly loved one in need of care, you want them to have the best care they can possibly get. But different elderly people, just like people of any age, have different needs, and you want to make sure to match the right kind of care with the right person.

Here are some of the different kinds and levels of senior care to help you determine which one is the best fit for your elderly loved one.

In-Home Aide

An in-home aide is a situation that allows the senior person to stay in his or her own home and to get assistance with activities of daily living from a trained home health care aide. A home aide can accompany the senior at times ranging from around the clock to once a week, depending upon the needs of the senior and their ability to pay. Cost varies according to the specifics of the situation.

Independent Living

Independent living is the most minimal level of care for a senior community. Also known as retirement communities, these are communities where the residents live in private apartments. They usually have customized meal packages they can buy, and planned social outing and entertainment options. These seniors have few medical problems and are mostly independent.

Residential Care

Residential care homes, also called group homes, are living situations where seniors live together in a private home where live-in caretakers, or caretakers with day and night shifts, are on hand to provide assistance with the activities of daily living. Medication assistance and other nursing services are often provided. These situations are similar to assisted living but often provide a greater sense of independence for the residents. Residential care homes and independent living communities run about $1500 to $3000 a month on average.

Assisted Living

Assisted Living is the next level of senior care. These seniors, usually due to health problems, are not able to live on their own safely. They can receive assistance with medication and activities of daily living. Meals and housekeeping services are provided, with 24-hour staff available for emergencies. The best assisted-living communities will have licensed nursing services on hand. These communities may cost between $2500 and $4000 a month, and Medicaid may be applicable.

Memory Care

Caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s can be extremely difficult and challenging. It can take a major psychological toll in addition to the physical stresses it can create. At a memory care facility, residents have 24-hour support and structured activities to maximize their safety and quality of life. Memory care is usually a subset of care in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Residents’ living areas are typically enclosed and secured so that residents do not accidentally wander off.

Nursing Home

A nursing home is a place for seniors who need a higher level of care than a standard assisted living facility can typically provide. Residents receive full-time medical care, meals, housekeeping, and some activities. Physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals typically make up much of the staff. Nursing care and memory care can run from $3000 to $8000 a month on average.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is a specific situation involving care for patients who are terminally ill. There are hospice facilities for this purpose, although hospice care can also be administered at home. Hospice care facilities have hospice nurses on hand, who are trained at keeping patients comfortable and helping patients and their families make the most of their remaining time together. The cost of hospice care can vary depending upon the specific situation.

How to Find the Right Living Situation for Your Elderly Loved One

If you have a senior in need of care in the Portland or Northern California areas and you aren’t sure how to find the right living situation, contact Golden Placement Services today. We are experts in placing seniors in the living situation that is just right for them. Our specialists do all the legwork, gathering the information we need for the perfect placement, locating the appropriate communities, and taking you on tours to help ensure the right match.

Placing a beloved senior in a new living situation can be a difficult transition for both you and your loved one. To make it easier and secure your peace of mind, let Golden Placement Services help you find the right home.

Leaders and executives within a company are generally responsible for evaluating employees, but they too need to be evaluated by someone who can determine their effectiveness as leaders. Methods for evaluating senior, or top-level, leadership vary from one organization to the next. These methods generally differ from the basic evaluation methods employed by managers to determine the effectiveness of general employees. Senior leaders are generally held to a higher standard due to their greater level of responsibility.

Skills

Whether you are choosing an executive leader for your organization or evaluating one whom you currently employ, the criteria by which you judge the senior leader is key to assessing his suitability for the job. Companies should use a specific skill set to define the qualities needed for each leadership position. Choosing these qualities should not be an arbitrary practice though. Instead, leadership positions that are properly defined according to the specific needs of the company and the objectives it hopes to accomplish will be easier to evaluate than those that are defined with broad, generic skill sets.

Metrics

Metrics are often used in business and manufacturing to assess the quality of an organization’s methods and practices. An organization can use various metrics to assess the quality of its senior leadership. Senior leaders are hired to accomplish specific objectives and provide broad leadership as well. The specific objectives can be measured in terms of improvement from one assessment period to the next. Organizations do have to walk a fine line, however, by balancing between statistical and formulaic methods of evaluation and those at are more discretionary in nature. For instance, an executive board may decide to let go of an executive because the members want to go a different direction, even though the executive has measured up in terms of quantifiable accomplishments.

Feedback

Feedback is an essential part of the evaluation of senior leadership. Berkeley Developmental Resources recommends that organizations evaluate senior leadership using a multisource feedback system. Rather than just providing an annual review by one person, organizations can rely upon feedback from employees and other executives within the organization to get a more comprehensive view of the senior leader’s performance. The use of multiple sources of feedback has to be carried out carefully, though, because of the potential for others within the organization to seek revenge against a leader whom they don’t like or want to have fired.

Problems

Organizations have to be careful to avoid some of the potential pitfalls of the evaluation process when dealing with senior leaders. For instance, using metrics alone as a source of evaluation is problematic unless accompanied by a corresponding narrative. Turning the evaluation process into a popularity test based on the subjective opinions is another pitfall. An evaluation is not truly an evaluation when senior leaders are given the rubber stamp of approval. Standards do need to be codified, however, so that organizations can avoid the danger of turning the evaluation process into a political forum as well.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

A care plan is a tool that long-term care providers use to coordinate and manage patients’ health care goals, needs, and services. Family caregivers can also benefit from using this strategy for providing care, but this is a tool that must be regularly evaluated and updated to continue being effective. Once an initial care plan has been established, all aspects of it should be reviewed periodically—especially after certain health events.

How Often Should Care Plans be Updated?

Care plans are constantly evolving. The frequency of evaluation depends largely on the nature of a care recipient’s medical conditions and the level of assistance they require. For example, someone with a progressive condition like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or Alzheimer’s disease will likely need more frequent assessments than an individual with milder or more stable health issues.

As a point of reference, Medicare requires home health agencies to review each client’s care plan at least once every 60 days. In Medicare-certified nursing homes, full health assessments and appropriate care plan updates must be made at least once every 90 days. Both these examples focus on patients with fairly complex medical conditions and care needs, but attention to detail is crucial, even for older adults who are still fairly healthy and independent.

Identify Important Changes

Picking up on even subtle changes in how a senior is feeling, both physically and mentally, is an ongoing part of providing high quality care. Start by talking with them and, most importantly, listening for any changes or complaints that seem to be new or more serious than usual. If your loved one isn’t forthcoming or able to able to convey how they’re feeling, you’ll need to rely on careful observation to detect changes in body language and behavior that may indicate things like pain, discomfort, or confusion.

Changes in any of the following symptoms should be discussed with their primary care physician immediately to make the appropriate changes to their care plan:

  • Frequent urination or changes in bowel movements
  • Itching, wounds, or new skin problems
  • Changes in balance, coordination, or strength
  • Indigestion or nausea
  • Thirst, increased hunger, or loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Drowsiness, fatigue, or insomnia
  • Headaches or body aches
  • Dizziness, restlessness, or a tendency to stumble or fall
  • Changes in mental status

Ensuring Proper Post-Hospital Care

A visit to the emergency room, whether a senior is admitted to the hospital or not, is considered an important development in their condition. Care plans should always be assessed and updated following a hospitalization.

If a senior is admitted, a transitional care plan should be provided as part of the hospital discharge process. This plan will detail all new medications, prescribed medical equipment, such as mobility aids, any therapy needs, and orders for follow-up medical appointments. Be sure to add to or adapt their existing care plan to incorporate these important changes.

The discharge care plan could be as simple as adding an antibiotic to their medication regimen for 10 days to treat a UTI, or it could call for a short-term stay at a senior rehabilitation facility to help manage a new or worsening chronic condition. Carefully review this plan with a discharge coordinator at the hospital. They will help you decide if you are equipped to handle your loved one’s care on your own or if in-home care or a rehab stay will be necessary to meet their needs and assist in their recovery. If possible, involve your loved one in conversations with the doctor(s) so they understand that a return visit to the hospital may result if discharge instructions aren’t followed.

Schedule all follow-up appointments as soon as your loved one returns home, and make sure to get an appointment with their primary care physician (PCP) within two weeks of the hospital visit. The PCP should be familiar with your loved one’s health status and the various sources of support they receive. These details are crucial for coordinating a more permanent plan of care for treating and/or managing an older adult’s condition.

Setting New Health Goals

Sometimes changes to a care plan aren’t made because of a hospital visit or a change in health. Certain modifications can refresh a senior’s daily routine and provide preventative health benefits. Work with your loved one to set personal goals that will improve their physical and mental health as well as their overall quality of life.

Even small goals, such as walking to the mailbox or baking cookies, can be motivating short-term or long-term objectives. Incorporate daily activities that will help them tackle these ambitions. Minor advances can help a senior work up to more meaningful achievements. When older adults are active participants in their own health and well-being, they are usually able to remain independent and safe in their own homes for much longer.

Communicate with All Care Team Members

A comprehensive care plan usually requires a team of family members, friends, professionals, and community resources to be executed smoothly. Regular communication with all team members is essential. Each person brings a unique perspective and area of expertise to the table, and different people tend to pick up on things that others may miss. Interacting with a senior in various situations and at different times of day can also reveal a great deal about subtle changes in their health and functional abilities.

To ensure the current care plan is being followed, try making frequent check-in phone calls with other team members or keeping a log of daily observations and activities. These strategies can also keep everyone informed and make it easier to recognize patterns in behavior or symptoms that should be addressed.

Take time to find out how the person you’re caring for feels about their care routine, too. Let them know that they still have control over their day-to-day life and whom they spend it with. If there is a part of their routine that they aren’t fond of, or something they would like to add, work with them to make reasonable and realistic changes. The same goes for members of the care team. If a senior is not connecting with a particular team member or caregiver, don’t be afraid to make a change if you think there might be a better fit.

Prioritize Your Own Health and Happiness to Prevent Burnout

Care planning should benefit family caregivers, too. Each time you evaluate a loved one’s care plan and team, take inventory of how you are feeling mentally and physically. You may find that you’ve forgotten to schedule this year’s annual physical or that you’re feeling spread too thin. Set goals for your own daily routine and find ways to incorporate them into the plan. This will enable you to make time for self-care and prevent caregiver burnout.

Introducing outside help, such as in-home care or adult day care services, can give you a well-deserved break. Home care companies also devise and regularly update client care plans as part of their services. If you could use some extra support and assistance with coordinating care and responsibilities, in-home care is an excellent option.

Be attentive to your loved one’s changing needs, factor yourself into this care plan, and take advantage of all the resources available to you through your friends, family and community.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

It is an open secret: Christian pastors struggle. Many are worn out and frequently fatigued. Many suffer from discouragement. Many desire more constructive feedback to help them channel their energies and properly discharge their calling.

This raises some questions. Who is overseeing their time, priorities, and ministerial expectations? Who is ensuring that they are not being overextended in duties beyond their primary calling to minister God’s Word? If burnout due to conflict is the number one reason pastors leave the ministry, how are pastors being shepherded to prevent this burnout? Who is overseeing what is clearly an intense spiritual struggle happening in the life of the pastor and his family?

The challenge is that pastors, just like all other sinners, struggle to see their own faults, steward their own resources, and remain encouraged in the work God is doing through them. Habits can develop in the course of a pastor’s ministry that lead to stagnation and a lack of personal growth. These developments can greatly harm the effectiveness of a pastor’s ministry. The pastor needs encouragement, feedback, and direction to grow in his calling; otherwise he will export stagnation into the life of his congregation.

Part of the calling of elders is to help pastors remain energized and effective in their callings. And an annual pastoral review is a helpful way to fulfill this responsibility. A proper pastoral evaluation process will be intentionally supportive of the pastor in his calling and positively constructive in helping the pastor identify areas for needed improvement. An evaluative process that is done well will help foster an atmosphere of trust, strengthening the relationship of the pastor with his congregation. Members will witness a healthy, active, and accountable relationship between the elders and pastor. The pastor will receive feedback designed to help and encourage him. When this kind of feedback comes from spiritual men called to oversee the ministry of the Word, it will have an energizing effect upon his ministry.

The pastoral review can be one of the best and most rewarding ways to promote a healthy ministry. So what should it look like?

The pastoral review should be simple, clear, and intentional in its content. It should not be overbearing or cumbersome. The best way to construct the pastoral review is to focus on the following primary duties of the pastor.

Preaching and Worship

Preaching has always been central to the ministry of the church. In classic Reformed theology, preeminence has been given to preaching in corporate worship based upon the conviction that the minister is an ambassador sent to proclaim God’s holy Word, making known his salvation to the peoples. Preaching that is conducted in demonstration of the Spirit and power is Christ’s living voice to the church today. The apostle Paul tells us that it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). For these reasons, the highest responsibility of the pastor is to give himself to the call of proclaiming God’s holy Word.

Elders should maintain the highest standard of respect for the act of preaching since we believe the pastor is speaking God’s Word. But such respect for preaching does not negate the responsibility of an elder to oversee the preaching itself. Preaching that makes a lasting difference in people’s lives is both faithful and effective.

Elders need to think through how best to encourage their pastor to strive for a faithful and effective pulpit ministry. The preaching ministry may be evaluated by the following three marks: the text is clearly explained, the gospel is faithfully proclaimed, and the people are driven to respond.

Personal and Family Life

In this part of the evaluation, the elders should determine the spiritual and physical vitality of the pastor and his family. The purpose is to determine whether he has become overburdened in his calling with the accumulation of duties, leading to the neglect of his personal walk with Christ, shepherding his family, and taking physical care of his body. Are there patterns of neglect in these areas? If so, why? Elders will also need to determine whether their expectations of the pastor are beyond what is reasonable. Failure in these areas will have a direct correlation to the effectiveness of his ministry. If the pastor cannot manage his own household, how will he care for the household of faith? This part of the evaluation focuses on safeguarding the pastor from himself and from unrealistic expectations.

Pastoral Care and Discipleship

Jesus desired to be among the sheep, caring for them, helping them, and loving them. Our Lord was accessible to his people as one concerned for their spiritual and physical well-being. Caring for the sick and the dying is a vital part of the pastor’s calling. When it comes to visitation and pastoral care, if improvement is needed, first determine whether the pastor clearly understands the expectations of the elders. The pastor should insist that his elders share with him the responsibility of meeting pastoral needs.

When it comes to discipleship, elders will need to assess how the pastor is promoting the growth of the congregation through teaching and counseling. The annual review should include the pastoral care of young people. This may require rethinking how accessible the pastor is to the next generation. Young people want a relationship with their pastor, and the elders need to ensure, with priority, that such a bond is being developed.

Other questions may be asked. Does the pastor make himself available to visitors? How is he promoting the enfolding of the lost? How is the pastor’s ministry propelling the Christian witness?

Leadership and Administration

In Reformed church polity, the pastoral role in leadership is one of assisting the elders in the shepherding and care of the congregation. The pastor holds an incredible position of influence that can be easily abused. It’s a sad but common problem that pastors are often known as controlling and manipulative. Sometimes elder bodies become no more than a group of yes-men to whatever agenda the pastor desires to push upon the congregation. At other times the pastor is viewed simply as a church employee and his leadership is hamstrung. While a pastor is certainly called to be a leader, this leadership must be accompanied with the heart of a servant.

With this in mind, elders will want to assess the pastor’s leadership among them. Is the pastor too domineering in his leadership, or too passive? Does his leadership demonstrate that he desires to assist or control the elder body in their shepherding of the congregation? How is the pastor’s leadership promoting the growth of other leaders in the elder body? Is the pastor known as a servant in the interests of Christ or a pusher of his own agenda on the body?

With God’s help a pastoral review will aid the spiritual growth of the pastor and the spiritual life of the entire congregation under his ministry.

This article originally appeared here.

Cats mature gracefully. Even though it’s easy to tell a kitten from an adult cat, it can be hard to tell how old a cat is once they hit the adult stage. For the most part, an adult cat looks very similar to a senior cat. Making determining their age even harder, most cats are adults around 9 to 12 months old . If you’re wondering how to tell a cat’s age, you should know these five surefire ways to pinpoint how old your cat is.

First, a Primer on Cat Ages

Before we dive into how to tell a cat’s age, let’s first review the cat age stages. Six stages comprise a cat’s life. From 0-6 months, they are kittens. Kittens are small, adorable, and always exploring so that they can learn more about their environment. From 7-24 months, felines enter the junior stage. Juniors are becoming more independent and getting ready for the transition to being in their prime years.

After two years, a cat is in its prime. This time is when your cat will be the most alert and will have the most ability. They’ll be in this phase until they hit the seven-year mark. At seven years, your cat will be mature. After ten years, they’ll be senior. Finally, after fifteen years, they’ll be geriatric.

So, when looking for how to tell a cat’s age, really what you’re trying to do is figure out in which of these age buckets they fall. It’s tough to tell the difference between a seven-month-old cat and an eight-month-old cat, but, as we’ll see, it’s relatively easy to determine whether your cat is in its junior years or if it’s of the senior cat age.

How to Tell a Cat’s Age: Look at Their Teeth

Teeth are a fantastic indicator of a cat’s age. First, all teeth don’t come in for a cat until they hit approximately six months, so if you look inside of their mouth and have any teeth missing, you know you have a kitten. Second, if you have an adult cat with all their teeth, you can sometimes tell the feline’s age by looking at the stains. As they eat more, their teeth become more stained. Therefore, if you see pearly whites, you have a younger cat. If you see older teeth, there’s a chance that you’re looking at a more elderly feline.

Of course, this method is a mere approximation, but it can at least help you get a hunch about how old the cat might be.

The Softness of Their Coat

A kitten’s fur coat is soft, silky, and smooth. It’s spotless and immaculate. However, as with human hair, as the cat ages, the fur coat becomes less soft. They may even develop patches of grey or white fur (just like humans do on their heads!).

Often a vet, who has seen thousands of cats and petted many coats of fur, can get a pretty good sense of how to tell a cat’s age just by petting them!

Cloudy Eye Appearance or Discharge

Cats tend to have relatively bright, crisp eyes for most of their life. Only in the senior cat age (at ten years) will they begin to develop eye problems. Therefore, if your cat has cloudy eyes or has any eye discharge, that’s a reliable indicator that you have a senior or geriatric cat.

Mobility and Activity Levels

Older cats love to sleep, while kittens love to play. While some older cats are spry and active, generally speaking, the more mature the cat is, the more sedentary it will be.

Senior cats and kittens need to sleep approximately the same amount of time each day – 20 hours. Adult cats, on the other hand, need to rest between 12-15 hours per day. Again, much of this is cat-dependent, but if you take a few days to time how much your cat is sleeping, you should get a rough idea of if they are an adult cat or a senior one.

Use a Cat Age Chart

There are many cat age charts online that provide photos of cats at each of these aging stages. If you find one, you can use it as a reference. Look at your cat and compare it to the ones you see. You might find that it looks like the junior cats, or you might find that it seems older like the senior ones.

Regardless of where your cat is, a cat age chart is one method for how to tell a cat’s age!

How to Tell a Cat’s Age: Possible, But Tricky

As we’ve seen, it’s possible to get a ballpark estimate of how old your cat is by looking at a few features. If they have lots of energy, appear smaller, have soft fur, and don’t have all their teeth, you’re looking at a kitten. If they still have lots of energy, smooth hair, but have all their teeth, you’re probably looking at a cat in its prime. Finally, if you’re looking at a cat that has eye discharge, has a duller coat, and has less energy, you probably have a senior cat.

When in doubt, ask a vet! Since they have seen so many cats before, they often have remarkably accurate guesses on how old these felines are.

How do cats age?

For the most part, cats get slower, have a less shiny coat, and sleep more. Conversely, younger cats are sprier, have a softer fur coat, and sleep fewer hours per day.

Do cats age like dogs?

For the most part, yes. Both dogs and cats share similar characteristics when it comes to aging.

How do you tell the age of a cat?

The best way to tell a cat’s age is to observe its behavior. Older and very young cats need to sleep a lot more. Cats that are in their prime need the least amount of sleep. Young cats have loads of energy and love to play. Older cats might just head to their sleeping space. Observing activity alone will give you a pretty good sense as to what age the cat is.

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How to evaluate the needs of a senior

Before a potential resident moves into any type of senior living community, the staff should conduct a thorough, in-person assessment of the senior’s physical and cognitive health.

While doctor’s notes can be helpful in documenting a senior’s medical issues, long-term care facilities shouldn’t rely on this information for admission purposes. Instead, an evaluation, often conducted by a nurse or another admissions employee, should be performed to obtain current information about a senior’s care needs. This assessment determines the level of care a potential resident requires, the services that the facility can provide and the associated costs. The process is also instrumental in creating a senior’s care plan.

At HarborChase of Naples, FL, a senior living community that provides assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing services, a nurse sits with every prospective resident (and often their families, too) and conducts a thorough evaluation of the elder’s ability to independently perform activities of daily living (ADLs) throughout a typical day.

Using an eight-page evaluation packet, the elder is ranked on a “point system,” which determines the level of care they require. Levels at HarborChase range from Basic Care, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, with Level 3 being the highest, most intensive level of care. This process ensures the facility is able to provide the resident with the care they require, and it also determines the monthly fee they will pay.

Not all assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes use a point system like HarborChase, but the key is that an assessment is conducted, that it is thorough and that there is a formal process for using the assessment to determine care and services for residents.

Typically an assessment for prospective residents will inventory and rank a person’s behaviors, chronic illnesses, communication abilities, dietary requirements, ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs), ability to manage medications, need for assistive devices and much more. HarborChase has provided the following sample criteria that its staff members use during resident assessments.

Senior Housing Evaluation: Level of Care Assessment

Gauging Orientation

The senior:

  • Is oriented to and aware of people, places and time.
  • Has occasional confusion and some difficulty recalling details. Needs some prompting.
  • Requires regular prompting due to confusion and disorientation.
  • Has severe cognitive deficits and a history of poor judgment, creating potentially unsafe behaviors.

Level of Bathroom Assistance

The senior:

  • Is continent of bowel and bladder and manages toileting independently.
  • Is continent of bowel and bladder and manages protective and/or assistive devices independently.
  • Requires occasional reminders/prompting to go to the bathroom.
  • Has intermittent episodes of incontinence.
  • Requires reminders for protective garment use.
  • Requires assistance to manage bowel and/or bladder.
  • Requires a two-person lift/assist when toileting.

Fall History and Risk

The senior:

  • Has never fallen.
  • Has had one fall in the last three months.
  • Has had more than one fall in the last three months.

Level of Mobility

The senior:

  • Is independent in mobility.
  • Requires reminders to use assistive devices.
  • Requires the assistance of one person for transfers.
  • Requires assistance to push a wheelchair due to a physical limitation.
  • Requires a two-person assist/lift for transfers.

After touring and interviewing staff at prospective senior living communities and selecting a new home for your loved one, make sure that a new resident assessment is conducted. Ask your loved one if you can also attend the meeting to better understand the evaluation process and how these communities determine the level of care residents need. This will help you with future care decisions as your loved one’s abilities decline and needs increase.

Furthermore, your input is equally as important as resident feedback. Senior living communities typically like caregivers to attend whenever possible to help fill in gaps in information and provide objective insight on a senior’s level of functioning. In some cases, the staff may conduct separate assessments, one with the caregiver and one with the elder alone. This helps both parties feel comfortable about being completely honest during the evaluation and enables the staff to establish a realistic care plan.

After a senior moves into long-term care, their needs and abilities should be periodically reassessed to ensure they continue getting the care they require. The frequency of these subsequent evaluations depends on whether a resident is declining and how often the state mandates care plan assessments for all residents. While state regulations vary, a reassessment should be conducted at least annually, even if a resident does not show any obvious signs of decline. Family caregivers usually request to be involved in these ongoing evaluations and attend care plan meetings with staff to receive updated information about services and costs.

In short, needs assessments are crucial for any senior, whether they are living at home or moving to senior housing. These evaluations help family caregivers and professional caregivers alike determine the services and supports that an elder needs and facilitate tracking fluctuations in their condition.

There are many different levels of care for your senior loved one. Frequently they overlap each other, and they also can be labeled by different names, depending on the agency or even the area you reside in. The key to choosing the right level of care is to have a good idea of where your senior is currently and how any health issues may be expected to progress. Here are some of the different levels of care that your senior may require.

1. InHome Senior Care. In home senior care is just what it says: The care provided is given in the home of the senior. Usually, home care starts with a primary family caregiver. Safety for the senior is always the main concern. The care usually starts with just helping out with tasks the senior can no longer do independently.

While in the home, you are able to determine if seniors are eating well, are they maintaining good hygiene, and have they been taking their medication as prescribed. If there are concerns, you may need to increase the amount of supervision.

If your senior can’t be left alone because of medical reasons or because they have Alzheimer’s and would not be safe unsupervised, professional in-home care may be the answer. They may be with your senior while the family caregiver is at work or they could just come a few hours to allow the family caregiver to grocery shop.

Professional in-home care can be provided at all levels of need and to allow respite for the primary family caregiver. Staff can range from a companion level of care, which does not include any medical care, to an RN who can administer medical treatment.

2. Assisted Living. The goal of assisted living is to encourage seniors to live as independently as possible, but with assistance available as needed. Assisted living is a great choice if seniors can no longer live in their own homes but they don’t need nursing care. Assisted living facilities allow seniors to have their own apartment or room but meals are provided, activities are planned, and assistance with personal care is available.

3. Nursing Home Care. This is for the senior who needs a higher level of care. They may be unable to transfer in and out of bed or a chair without significant assistance or even lift equipment. They may have medical issues that require frequent monitoring. The senior who needs medical treatments would qualify for nursing home care. At this level of care, a nurse is available to provide care when needed.

4. Rehabilitation. This is generally a short-term stay usually after surgery or an injury that requires intensive physical or occupational therapy. A common user of this level of care is the senior who just underwent knee replacement or the senior recovering from a stroke. Care is supervised by an RN and the stay is expected to be several weeks.

5. Hospice. Hospice care is given to those who have a life-ending prognosis and have chosen to forgo any further attempt at a medical cure. The goal of hospice care is to alleviate pain and anxiety for the senior. Hospice care can be given in a home setting or in a hospice facility.

6. Memory Care. Memory care units are designed for those seniors afflicted with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. The units are more secure, to provide safety, and often have an enclosed outdoor space so that residents of this unit can safely choose to enjoy the outdoors independently without concern about wandering behaviors. Activities on this unit are designed for seniors with memory issues, and assistance is available at all times.

7. Respite Care Units. These are difficult to find but are essentially designed to provide a safe temporary home for your senior and provide the ability for the primary caregiver to have a short respite from caregiving. Usually, respite care is limited to no more than two weeks.

If there is no facility that will provide this service, consider live – in home care . They can evaluate your senior to determine the correct level of care your senior will need in your absence. You could arrange for them to care for your senior before you leave, allowing both your senior and the caregiver to become comfortable with each other.

These are the basic levels of care, but there are more subdivisions and overlapping of them all. Check out various facilities to see what their physical building and grounds are like, as well as their philosophy of care. Look at their activities calendar to see if there is enough to stimulate your senior. Check the staffing ratio. Observe the unit on all shifts. Talk to other families with seniors on the unit you are considering. If at all possible, include your senior in the decision of where they will live.

A surprise resignation here; a rumor of resentment there… these are indications that there are problems within your management team.

If this is happening, the time to take action is now.

Great managers build trust, inspire individuals, and motivate teams. Bad managers breed resentment and make people want to quit.

Problem is, you may not realize what’s happening until smaller managerial issues have spiraled into much bigger problems.

What if I told you there’s a way to evaluate your managers’ performance and identify the tools they need to be successful—without having to guess at what’s going on?

Why Manager Evaluations by Staff Are So Important

Fact is, being a great manager isn’t something that comes naturally. The role is often bestowed upon individuals who have showcased exceptional engagement at a job well done—but may or may not be skilled at inspiring others to do the same.

Even revered management consultant Peter Drucker has been cited in academia as proclaiming that “the greatest challenge to U.S. business… may well be the development of its management people.”

Of course, Drucker also famously noted that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. And that’s where evaluations come in.

Manager evaluations provide the foundation you need to support supervisors so they can become superstar leaders and help create a strong culture of engagement.

But simply asking employees for feedback isn’t enough. A poor evaluation process can lead to bogus answers and keep the rumor mill going. Only open and honest feedback will lead to meaningful discussions and decisions.

For example, consider what happened at Steel Encounters. It wasn’t until employees were encouraged to provide confidential manager evaluations that it became evident that trust and feedback—key drivers of employee engagement—were frighteningly low within the company’s northwest division, where workers are frequently in the field and often out of sight.

Armed with this information, executives took action. Just one quarter later, the division’s engagement scores (a strong indicator of what’s really happening within an organization) had increased by a remarkable 10 points.

So… how did they do it?

Performance Evaluation Criteria for Managers: The Essentials

Based on 15five’s experiences with thousands of employees across numerous industries and organizations, three core principles will ensure that your manager evaluations by staff are productive.

#1: Ensure Confidentiality

You can’t really evaluate your managers’ performance unless you have open and honest feedback. And you won’t get candid feedback unless you ensure confidentiality.

Employees will only be authentic in their answers if there’s no fear of negative consequences to their work status or career. (This is what’s known as the core psychological condition of safety.)

It’s not enough to say that answers are kept confidential. Your employees need proof. If you don’t yet have a proven track record from previous manager evaluations, using a survey solution designed to ensure confidentiality can accomplish this for you.

#2: Seek Clarity

In instances when staff evaluations of a manager bring a specific issue or problem area to light, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Something as simple as a one-question follow up poll may be all you need to find out what’s going wrong.

For example, when one 15five customer discovered employees felt they weren’t getting adequate training, executives sent out a one-question SmartPulse™ survey to ask what types of training opportunities they hoped to see.

This same approach can be used to understand what employees need from management to feel supported and be successful.

#3: Take Action

Manager evaluations by staff will help you identify what’s unhealthy. It’s up to you to remedy it. Taking action on the data you collect will not only help managers succeed, but also reinforce to employees that leadership is listening.

Back at Steel Encounters, executives responded to low engagement scores in its northwest division by putting new support mechanisms in place right away. Management was provided with professional coaching and invited to attend a monthly book club to discuss the principles of Agile Engagement. Meanwhile, employees participated in one-hour, one-on-one sessions with leadership where suggestions were actively encouraged.

The result? President Tom Jackson put it this way:

“Sitting down and having a face-to-face with each employee in the department just skyrocketed their scores. They felt like the valve had been opened so they could give feedback up to management.”

Sample Manager Evaluation Questions

Remember: The goal of asking staff to evaluate managers is to identify concrete ways you can help your managers and their teams succeed. The companies we work with have found that managers are frequently relieved to have candid feedback they can use to make adjustments and adopt newer, better approaches.

The right evaluation questions will help clue you in to any issues and provide solid takeaways you can use. Best way to do that? Measure engagement across your entire organization, and then view the results by individual departments, teams, and locations.

For example, consider the following Likert scale-style questions:

  • I am inspired to do my best work
  • I’m excited about how my work matters to our team
  • Time goes by very quickly when I am at work

If employees score high on these statements in one department but not another, that’s a clear indication that it’s time to take a deeper look at what’s going on within the division.

Bottom line: Evaluating your managers’ performance can have a big impact on the overall engagement of your employees and success of your company. Armed with the right insights, it becomes exponentially easier to empower managers to truly inspire teams.

The second of a three-part series. To come:

Resident Council Meetings, as I discussed in my previous post, “Why Most Resident Council Meetings in Nursing Homes Are a Sham,” often can be improved to become a powerful tool for change in nursing homes. Giving residents a true voice within their nursing home community creates meaning and purpose in their lives and reduces depression and acting out behavior.

In the one nursing home I’ve observed with effective Resident Council Meetings, residents actively campaigned for positions on the Resident Council and were voted into office. Meetings were conducted by a charismatic and enthusiastic staff leader, and concerns were seriously considered and acted upon by the administration. The residents felt they had a place they could bring their ideas, and the entire nursing home was a dynamic, thriving environment.

For Resident Council Meetings like that, try these steps:

Step One. As part of the administration, decide how open you’ll be to suggestions for change from the residents. Is the nursing home willing to consider, for example, how to offer computer access to residents, if they request it, or to bring 12-Step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous into the facility? Or is the home more comfortable with smaller changes such as adding a week to the food rotation schedule to increase the variety of meals served? The group leader should be aware of how willing the administration is to work with the group in order to guide the meetings more effectively.

Step Two. Evaluate which person on staff would make the best group leader. A successful leader will be someone who is a strong resident advocate, has good rapport with both residents and other staff members, and either has the skill to run meetings or is willing to learn and practice.

Step Three. Recruit new group members. The staff leader and current resident attendees can, with the support of the facility, begin a community-wide campaign to “rehabilitate” the Resident Council Meetings. Speak privately with those residents who might be willing to attend improved meetings and get a commitment from them to give it a try. Ask them to talk to their friends in the home and then follow up with the friends. This process may take some time, so plan for the kick-off meeting to be a few months down the road, rather than the following month. Bring in many new, alert people at the same time, so the group is strong enough to encompass confused, off-topic, or quirky members.

Step Four. Educate the group members about how the meetings work, what types of issues can be addressed, and where other concerns can be brought. Spending group time discussing the process of the group is a worthwhile investment. For practical, rather than clinical, information on running groups, check out Robert’s Rules of Order.

Step Five. As group leader, utilize group therapy techniques, such as creating an emotionally safe environment for discussion and ensuring that as many members as possible get a chance to express their opinions. Care should be taken to avoid a few members dominating the group. Leaders might consider reading about group process if they don’t feel comfortable with their skills. My group therapy “Bible” is The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, by Irvin D. Yalom, which, while geared toward psychotherapy, offers many techniques which would enhance Resident Council Meetings and many other group activities. (If anyone reading this has other resources, please add them in the comments section.)

Step Six. Like all well-run meetings, issues raised by the group members should be addressed and followed up either within the current meeting or in subsequent gatherings, with a recording secretary so that items aren’t lost.* If suggestions made by the group aren’t able to be realized, give reasonable explanations so members understand their requests were seriously considered. Use the wisdom of the group to find ways to make things happen while working within the constraints and realities of the nursing home system.

Effective Resident Council Meetings are within the grasp of all nursing homes. I welcome further suggestions about how to make the meetings work, and I’d especially like to hear from those who currently participate in successful meetings. What makes them successful? How did you go about the process of transformation? What types of issues are you now addressing in your groups?

More Information

Assisted living encourages independence, safety, and dignity for residents. It promotes involvement of family and friends. The staff meets each resident’s needs and the community offers dining, social involvement and wellness designed to support a quality lifestyle.

One of the best ways to measure an assisted living facility’s performance is through resident assessments. If you’re looking for assisted care, do you your homework. Ask the community for written material, including copies of the residency agreement that outlines the services, fees, extra charges, move-in and move-out criteria, staffing, and house rules.

You are likely to find out good and bad things no matter where you go, but taking the time to get the complete picture can save you a lot of grief and heartache in the long run.

Finding the right assisted living facility to match your current needs with the care services provided is the very first step. By assessing the current needs and how those needs may evolve over time, gives you the best starting point to gain clarity and direction in the search for the right place.

As you begin your search, assess the current needs (yourself or loved one) and ask each provider how it accommodates changes in those needs over time. Examine your finances and ask about costs. Monthly rates and fee structures vary.

The Pre-Screening and Assessment for Admission to Assisted Living Facilities

The pre-screening checklist assesses your current health needs. It’s a quick overview of what the residential care facility uses upon admissions. Use this checklist as a guide to help you select the best, well-equipped community to handle your requirements.

Personal Care Checklist – Make a list of all the special requirements needed for the following:

  • Special Supportive Services
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Dietary/Nutrition
  • Mobility
  • Housekeeping
  • Mental Condition and Confusion
  • Transportation
  • Medical Needs and Monitoring
  • Medication Administration

Health Issues and Conditions

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Hearing impairment
  • Heart trouble
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Incontinent
  • Stroke
  • Visual Impairment

Explanation of Resident Care Assessment

To live in assisted living, one must be ambulatory or transfer easily with assistance of one staff person. Residents may use the mobility assistive devices independently or with assistance for mobility/transportation purposes only.

Behavior or Mental Condition

The resident must communicate needs, be oriented to place and respond to orientation and direction by the staff. The resident must comply with policies and state/federal regulations. The resident must show respect for other residents, staff, and property. Residents cannot display behavior that jeopardizes the health, safety, physical or mental welfare of the resident or others.

Activities of Daily Living

Activities include grooming, personal hygiene, and dressing. Residents must feed oneself and walk to dining room.

Bowel and Bladder

Occasional incontinence is acceptable, if contained and monitored by the resident.

Medication Administration

Medications kept and self-administered by resident with a physician’s written permission. If required, a nurse administers medications, if required by physician. A health history and physical form completed by the resident’s personal physician before admission.

Special Supportive Services

These include occasional oxygen needs, providing special dietary services, or any need that requires extra assistance by staff.

How often is a Needs Assessment given?

Being a resident in a facility, the staff needs to know whether the existing care plan is working, or if it needs altering to better meet one’s needs. As a resident grows older, care needs deepen.

Find out how often the assisted living facility conducts a care plan evaluation. Ideally the staff evaluates a resident’s care plan every few months, or as the staff feels the needs change. During a needs assessment, are new services added, existing services altered or removed, and if each change affects the cost.

How will the Facility Handle the Changing Health Care Needs of a Resident?

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

While living in the senior living community, few patients develop chronic illnesses or advanced diseases like heart disease or diabetes. During the care plan session, learn how the facility handles such changes in health. If a resident’s health deteriorates and require intense care, ask if the staff is able to handle the resident’s new health issues.

Ask how the staff assess a resident’s health changes in order to determine the types of care one needs?

How do they determine if the healthcare needs are too medically involved for their skill set and education?

What skill set is the staff equipped with and what types of care needs can they easily respond to?

How often does staff check on residents?

Ask these questions during the service plan execution. Most facilities have a list of services they perform and procedures they can best handle for residents’ healthcare.

Residents need privacy, but they also need assistance. During the service plan execution, it’s a good time to determine how often the staff checks in throughout the day and night. Obviously the more care a person needs, the more check-ins a resident needs.

The facility should have standard procedures in place for monitoring its residents. Learn what those are.

Service planning is a critical issue. It gives the resident and family a good idea of how care’s handled, as well as the costs associated with that care.

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.

3/22/2016 | By Seniors Guide Staff

According to Pew Research Center, more than half of senior citizens are Internet users and have high-speed broadband. In addition, 77 percent have cellphones. While seniors are becoming increasingly tech savvy, they still need the tools, resources and tech education to navigate devices.

A report sponsored by Linkage, “Extending Technology Past Baby Boomers,” found medical pendant alarms were popular with seniors. They report 35 percent of those surveyed use them. However, seniors were slow to adapt other helpful and life-saving technologies due to confusion on how to use them or lack of knowledge. Seniors reported that they would want a friend or family member, a workshop, one-on-one training or a doctor or health provider to help them learn how to use technology. Take some time to set up your aging loved ones with devices and apps that can monitor their health and help them age in place easier and for longer.

Choose Larger Screens

Even without vision problems, seniors can benefit from the ease of using larger screens. Touch technology may be a completely new concept for them, and the larger the icons and images, the easier it will be to use the device. Find out what type of device the senior might be interested in. If they’re unsure, recommend something that’s portable, lightweight and easy to use like an Apple iPad Mini 4. This iPad weighs nearly half-a-pound, has a 7.9-inch Retina display and up to 10 hours of battery life.

Show your senior how to use important features like FaceTime, and how to text and take photos to share with families. It’s also wise to help them save important information, like their doctor’s office number and directions or pharmacy and emergency contacts right to the iPad.

Stay Mindful of Limitations

Showing seniors how to use technology is a rewarding process that can dramatically change their lives for the better. But not all seniors are ready for the challenge of managing a device or tool on their own. Go slowly and walk step-by-step through the process. Remember they may have vision or comprehension problems that can make it confusing to navigate the first few times. Other seniors may feel apprehensive about using it on their own and may require follow-up lessons. Show them what to do if they get lost with the device. For example, they can hit the home button on an iPad or iPhone to go back to the main menu.

Gracefully Age in Place

Technology is making it easier to age in place longer. Seniors can harness personal technology and tools to stay safe and streamline their lives. For example, the app Lively provides sensors that can be put on a senior’s pillboxes, refrigerator, key chain, door or anywhere else. Check in on your senior citizen virtually to monitor their activity and make sure medication is taken. A GPS device can also help locate a senior who is prone to wandering off or falling.

Teach Health-monitoring Tools

Some seniors are perfectly capable of living alone, but need extra monitoring and assurance that medication is taken regularly and procedures are followed. Set up a system like Reminder Rosie to remind your senior to stretch his or her knee after a knee replacement, take medication at a particular time or give specific directions on how many pills to take. Loved ones can record their voice and instructions on Reminder Rosie to give seniors an extra boost of comfort when hearing their loved one’s voice.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

Have you ever frowned when your elders order you – for the umpteenth time – to open browsers, find movies or apps, set up accounts, and even decide the passwords for them? Perhaps it is a way to repay our debts to the ones who fed us and sent us to school. After all, who would help them navigate this new digital era but you?

Yet instead of doing everything for mum and dad, why not teach them? As they say: Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This is true even when it comes to our own parents. The world has evolved, and it is more important than ever for seniors to keep learning.

Why Should Seniors Learn Computers?

Older adults tend to have a crippling fear of all things digital. Unlike kids these days, all they had to operate in their childhoods was probably a television. It is natural for them to be nostalgic and shun computers. But if you are reading this, you will know that there is a lot of value in learning basic computer skills. Try persuading your parents with these three reasons:

To Deal with Daily Needs

Digitisation has slowly but surely seeped into our everyday lives. Public systems in Singapore have gone online with the Smart Nation initiative. Our medical records are now stored in electronic databases. Our money has gone online too, with Internet banking services. It is much more convenient now to do many things online than off. We can avoid these changes for a while, but not for long. Just look at our supermarkets today. There are fewer cashiers and more electronic kiosks, and not all kiosks can accept cash. Our parents need to learn to interact with these screens on an daily basis. With the ubiquity of smartphones and the proliferation of banking apps like PayNow and PayLah, it may not take long before cards also give way to phones.

To Self-Entertain

If they refuse the idea that they have “no choice”, then you should try to convince them it is a “good choice”. As your parents enter their later years, they are likely to work less and pay more attention to leisure. Ask yourself: What do your parents like to do? Watch Taiwan dramas? Listen to songs of the 70s? Read books on global politics? Whatever their interests, there is likely to be no lack of apps which could easily improve their quality of life, right away.

To Bond With Family

Besides entertaining themselves, older adults are likely to crave intergenerational bonding. For all you know, asking your help might be your parents’ way of getting your concern! However, developing basic skills in using smartphones and computers will only allow your parents to get more quality interactions. The most useful for this purpose is learning to use social media networks. 77% of Singaporeans are active social media users. And it is not only for the young, with 33% of Internet users aged 55-65 now using Instagram. If seniors can learn to independently navigate these platforms, they will be much more able to stay in touch with what their children and grandchildren are up to, even if they no longer live under one roof.

What Computer Skills Should Seniors Learn?

It is one thing to convince your parents to pick up computer skills, and quite another for them to pick up those skills. Moreover, which skills should they learn? Where can they start?

To help you, we have identified a non-exhaustive list of relevant skills that are most helpful to seniors. Acquiring basic computer knowledge removes seniors’ fear and rejection of technology, opening the way to simple day-to-day usage of computers. Once the basics are in place, seniors can go on to acquire beginner skills that help them delve into the digital world more confidently and safely.

Basic Computer Skills

  • Knowledge of computer parts, e.g. mouse, USB port, earphone jack and camera
  • Confidence in navigating around in PCs and mobile devices
  • Opening and closing files and applications
  • Basic internet browsing
  • Basic email usage i.e. sign in, receiving and replying
  • Creating, saving and printing documents and spreadsheets

Beginner Computer Skills

  • Understanding storage concepts like files, folders and compression
  • Understanding basic network concepts like connection, uploading and downloading
  • Understanding security risks like malware, file security and online security
  • Adjusting settings in PCs and mobile devices
  • Use of social media networks like Facebook and Instagram
  • Use of online collaboration tools like video calls, IM and online calendars
  • Use of cloud storage and synchronisation

How to Teach Seniors Computer Skills?

Some of the tasks may be very simple and intuitive to us, but they may be entirely foreign to our parents. Here are 5 tips you can use to help older adults learn computer skills more effectively:

Avoid Jargon

The more you know, the less likely you will be understood. This means that to be understood by computer beginners, you must put more effort into translating your knowledge into simple, everyday language.

Tailor to Their Interests

Apart from not killing their interest with incomprehensible terms, you should actively work to capture their attention by playing to their interests. Teaching mobile and computer skills can be interesting, if we use our imagination!

Familiarize through Touch

To overcome the psychological barriers older adults face, you should allow them to play with the devices without inhibition. Let them feel the ports, type gibberish, and tap the screen of a regular desktop to no avail. Laugh along and *poof* – their fear is gone.

Exercise Patience

As our seniors make mistakes they will inevitably make, it is vital that you do not grow impatient and judge them. Give them breaks and praise when they figure things out. Model yourself after your best teachers, and experiment to learn what works best for them.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Finally, all the personalised guidance will come to naught if your parents do not continually work at honing their computer skills. Repetition can be boring, and it will be very useful to rely on professional courses. The presence of peers at similar stages of learning will motivate your parents in ways you cannot achieve alone.

If you want the best for your parents’ learning, fret not – we are happy to help! Coursemology offers a basic computer course specially tailored for senior citizens. These structured lessons will complement and reduce the burden of your everyday efforts. Maybe next time, when you watch on as your mum filters her selfies on Instagram and your dad uploads his iPhone screenshots onto Google Docs, all by themselves, you will break into a smile and feel like you have repaid a little more of all they have given you.

The older we get, the more acutely aware we become of human mortality. And as we age, we often think more often of how we can help protect our family members in the case of an untimely death. Life insurance is different from other types of insurance — such as car insurance and health insurance — in that you most likely hope your family will never have to make use of it. However, since death is an inevitable part of life, chances are, your policy will not be purchased in vain.

According to a report published by Atidot — an insurance technology company providing AI, big data and predictive analytics tools for the life insurance industry — many people with life insurance policies are actually underinsured, with only about 30 percent of total coverage needs being met, leaving approximately 70 percent of unmet potential coverage. 1 Additionally, LIMRA’s 2018 Insurance Barometer Study found that about one in five people who have life insurance say they do not have enough. 2 If you’re in your 60s or 70s, there are a variety of things to consider when evaluating your life insurance needs.

Am I Too Old for Life Insurance?

From mortgages to home repairs, there are many expenses your spouse could incur in the event of your passing. By purchasing a life insurance policy, you’re providing both you and your family with peace of mind knowing that these expenses will not lead to the loss of a house or more. A common belief about life insurance is that it’s expensive, especially if purchased later in life. However, as you get into your 60s and 70s, you may not need as substantial a policy, since your spouse may also not have as many years of living left to cover financially.

When considering whether or not you should get life insurance, it’s important to evaluate how many people rely on you for financial support, as well as how much that support entails. If your spouse doesn’t work or only works part-time, then they will most likely require additional income in the event of your passing. In a case like this, getting a life insurance policy is highly recommended if you want to make sure your partner is protected from excessive financial stress after you’re gone.

For people with estates very large estates, it’s often recommended to get permanent life insurance to minimize your estate taxes. Other people choose to fund their retirement with the cash value of their permanent life insurance. If this is your plan, then you’ll, of course, want to purchase a policy.

Life Insurance and Your Health Status

Typically, the older you are, the more expensive your life insurance quote is going to be. This is in part due to the fact that the older you are, the more health problems you could have. In some cases, you may be better off investing your money instead. If you’re in good health, it may make more sense for you to get a shorter term policy. For those with health problems, you may want to consider getting guaranteed issue life insurance, which anyone can get regardless of any health issues they may have.

Renewing and Extending Your Life Insurance Policy

While you may have bought a policy years ago, if you have a term policy, you may want to consider extending your coverage if you are aren’t able to cover retirement costs with pensions and savings. You can do this by either renewing your current policy or converting it to whole life insurance. If you choose to renew, it’s important to note that your premium could increase, and some companies may not even allow you to renew depending on how old you are.

What to Do Next

Regardless of your age, it’s always recommended to consult with a financial professional who can evaluate your individual situation and needs to determine whether or not life insurance makes sense for you. If a policy is recommended, they can help make sure you choose the type of life insurance that offers the most benefits for both you and your family.

As your loved one grows older, you may become more concerned about how safe they are at home. Physical changes may mean that an older person is at increased risk of accidents or injury, but there are ways in which you can make their home environment safer for them.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

Fire safety

It is important that your loved one’s home has smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors installed and that they are checked regularly.

If your relative has impaired hearing, they may not be able to hear an alarm sounding unless it is nearby, so make sure that they are positioned in places that are regularly used, such as living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms. For people who are profoundly deaf, audible alarms can be replaced by flashing lights to alert them to potential danger.

If your loved one has mobility problems, they may have difficulty in reaching a fire extinguisher to tackle a small fire, so it is a good idea to position several extinguishers around the home, in places that are easy to reach.

Fire safety is particularly important if your loved one needs dementia care and may sometimes leave the cooker on inadvertently.

Bathroom safety

Even if your loved one has companion care at home, there may well be times when they are alone in the bathroom and at risk of slipping. To minimise the risk, you could install grab rails in places where they are likely to need support.

A sturdy support to help them get in or out of the bath or shower can be beneficial, and a grab rail next to the toilet can also help with lowering themselves to the seat and standing up after using the toilet. Another way to help is to install a raised toilet seat to make it easier for someone with mobility problems to use the toilet.

Floors should be non-slip if possible, but rubber mats can help to make tiled floors less slippery.

Installing a seat in the shower can improve your loved one’s safety because they will be able to sit down if they feel tired or dizzy. Although you can buy free-standing stools, a seat that is bolted to the wall may be sturdier.

Consider a walk-in bath or shower for your loved one if they find bathing difficult and are at risk of falling.

Personal alarm systems

For people who live alone, perhaps with daily elderly care visits, a personal alarm system can give them the ability to summon help when it is needed. A lightweight pendant or wristband with a button that connects to a response centre can be worn by the elderly person, who can choose whether nominated family members or the emergency services should be contacted.

The service will operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week. You will need to check whether the alarm will still function outside the house in case your loved one should have a fall in the garden.

Depression often manifests differently in the elderly. Know the symptoms and how treatment can help.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

You’d think it would be easy to detect depression in an older person — after all, many signs of sadness, including tears and lethargy, are visible.

But depression, like many other ailments, often manifests differently in the elderly compared with younger people. For example, an older person who is depressed doesn’t necessarily feel sad but may complain of lack of energy and attribute symptoms to age. And that can make it trickier for doctors, loved ones, and older people themselves to spot depression. The fact that certain medications and medical illnesses can bring on depression — or mimic it — also complicates matters, making it tough to know when to get crucial help.

“When an older person has untreated depression, he or she may lose interest in activities that previously held their interest, and retreat from social interaction and physical activities, which may eventually lead to loss of function,” says Dr. Ronald D. Adelman, co-chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “That’s one reason it’s important not to brush off any changes in behavior as simply part of ‘old age.’”

While depression in older adults is less common than in younger adults, says Dr. Adelman, the problem is, when it is present, even doctors are likely to overlook it. A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that primary care physicians spend very little time discussing mental health with their older patients, and are unlikely to refer them to a mental health expert even if they are showing classic signs of depression.

Here’s what you need to know, whether you love an older individual or happen to be one.

Be Aware of Symptoms

With an untreated depression, older people may show a loss of concentration and other cognitive changes — symptoms that may be erroneously attributed to dementia, according to Dr. Adelman, the Emilie Roy Corey Professor of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Weill Cornell Medicine.

What’s more, older people are apt to suffer from one or more chronic illnesses, some of which can cause depression. For instance, many people with Parkinson’s disease develop depression.

Along with cognitive symptoms, experiencing a depressed mood, loss of pleasure in activities, significant weight loss or gain, decrease or increase in appetite, sleeping too much or too little, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt calls for a trip to the doctor for a depression screening and medical exam, Dr. Adelman says.

Needless to say, if an individual has recurrent thoughts of death or suicide or attempts suicide, this calls for an emergency psychiatric evaluation.

“Treatment depends on the person having a comprehensive evaluation,” says Dr. Granieri, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Interventions depend on whether the signs or symptoms are true depression only, on the type of depression, or if there is depression mixed with other disorders. The interventions may include medications, talk therapy, socialization or change in social environment, optimizing care of other physical disorders, or changing medications for other conditions that the person may already be on.”

“With older adults, many conditions can either mimic depression or exacerbate it, so it is necessary to have an expert evaluate for depression.”

Understand the Stigma

One issue that can make older people reluctant to get treatment for depression — or make it tough for those who love them to coax them to go to a doctor — is the belief that getting treatment for depression is a sign of weakness or lack of moral fiber.

“For patients over 85, in particular, there tends to be a lot of stigma associated with depression. Often, patients have the sense that if they’re depressed, it means they don’t have the backbone that they used to have,” says Dr. Adelman. “One thing we try to do at the Irving Sherwood Wright Center on Aging (part of NewYork-Presbyterian’s Ambulatory Care Network) is make it clear that depression is a disease just like high blood pressure — it’s not something the patient is responsible for,” he explains. “And it requires aggressive treatment. If you don’t treat it, it can cause prolonged suffering and significant loss of function.”

“As part of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Aging at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, we provide comprehensive assessment and care for older adults — medical, functional, cognitive, and psychosocial care — and that includes looking out for signs of depression,” says Dr. Granieri.

The good news is that treatment for depression, whether medication, therapy, or a combination of both, can be just as effective in older people as in younger people.

“Once depression is treated, cognitive abilities can come right back, as well as quality of life,” says Dr. Adelman. “One of the key principles in geriatric medicine is that you have to look at the person as a whole, rather than merely trying to diagnose a disease. Because geriatricians ask older people about a wide range of medical issues, psychological issues, social issues, and advance care planning — they are always on the lookout for depression.”

For more information about joining a treatment study, visit here. For other services, visit here.

Many families look to assisted living communities to provide essential care and peace of mind for aging parents. However, finding the right senior living community is a journey and requires matching your parents’ needs, lifestyle, and budget with locations in their desired area. The process is easiest and results in success most often when all parties involved prepare, ask the right questions, and participate in frank, open conversations.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

In this Article

The search for assisted living usually begins when an elderly person needs more help than a caregiver can provide. If you’re noticing signs your parents need help , you have options. Take these six steps to learn more about assisted living and find the right fit for your parents.

1. Have a conversation with your family

The decision to relocate to an assisted living community is a big one, and it’s one your parents should be involved in for the move to be successful. The earlier you get everyone on the same page, the better the final result will be.

  • Be honest about your capacity to provide care. It’s important to acknowledge your own needs and communicate them to others. Caregiving is a challenging job and shouldn’t be performed indefinitely without support.
  • Work to settle any disagreements. If other family members may be affected by the decision to move your parents into a community, it’s a good idea to involve them, too. Securing family members’ support can help smooth the transition and reduce your burden. And, by inviting their input, you may come up with solutions you might not otherwise have considered.
  • Remember that you can’t force your parents to listen to you. If your parents are in denial about their need for care, pick a quiet moment and share your observations, concerns, and feelings. Listen to your parents, and write down their apprehensions and preferences.
  • Consider using a professional mediator. Elder mediators help senior loved ones and relatives come to a mutual understanding about each person’s concerns. Their goal is to give everyone a voice in a safe and constructive environment.

Feel supported and prepared to discuss senior living
All our advice, all in one place. Reference this step-by-step resource for help starting a productive dialogue, getting your family on the same page, and considering next steps.
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2. Understand how assisted living can help

Big changes can result in significant stress, especially when the person experiencing the change is elderly. When considering a new home for your parents, review the steps outlined in these articles:

  • Evaluate your loved one’s needs. Start with an assessment of their activities of daily living, or ADLs. Can they bathe, dress, and move about easily? How much help do they already require?
  • Read up on what assisted living offers. The phrase “assisted living” encompasses far more than people realize, but it’s not the same as nursing homes or memory care — two different community types with more daily involvement and specialized care than what’s usually offered in assisted living.
  • Consider the potential benefits. Assisted living communities have evolved with the times. Many are rich with current amenities and activities while maintaining a level of care that allows your loved one to stay safe and healthy.
  • Talk to a Senior Living Advisor. A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors are experts in your local area, and their services are free. With plenty of experience connecting families to all levels of care, they can provide personalized advice and recommendations based on your unique needs.

To truly succeed in management, you must perfect a balancing act – maintain the respect of your team and your superiors, put on a good face for the company in all of its external affairs, and manage the work of your entire department. When you add in all your other daily duties, these tasks can become extremely taxing.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

Perfecting senior leadership skills is vital in order to survive in the C-Suite

When it comes to leadership, there is a wide range of necessary skills required that aren’t mentioned in the job description. How do you stack up against some of the best managers in the business? Do you know what areas you need to improve? If so, how do you plan on developing yourself, personally and professionally, to benefit your organization? Check yourself against this list of the best skills in senior leadership. They may be the deciding factor when it comes to deciding your future in the C-Suite.

Strategic planning

In a time of reorganization, your employees will look to those in leadership positions for an indication of how to react. It’s in your best interest to perfect your skills in stoicism. Keeping a stiff upper lip and leading the troops, even in times of uncertainty, is an integral part of management. Take it upon yourself to study all the key factors in your company’s market, to stay up to date on all current events that may affect your organization, and to maintain constant communication with the highest level of management. By staying well informed, you’ll be able to explain and understand the best decisions for you and your team, especially in times when the executive board considers restructuring your company’s hierarchies and processes. These are critical skills for any senior manager.

Employee development

Sometimes, leaders are placed in positions of power due solely to their confidence and charisma. While these are certainly beneficial traits for a manager, they can also point to symptoms of megalomania. And at times, executives and senior managers might focus too much on their own career trajectory, as opposed to developing the employees around them. A truly good and intelligent manager recognizes the importance of a strong team of employees. Without a strong foundation, how can you possibly lead your department to success? You only stand to gain when your colleagues are performing at their best. It’s in your best interest to get to know each one of your employees – their strengths, their weaknesses, and what would help them to perform at their best. Perhaps John, your strategic marketing expert, would like to attend a seminar on the newest practices in digital marketing. Find a way for him to sharpen his skills, and watch as he shines. By providing your staff with an open ear and an open mind, your group will flourish.

Take a look below to find out which skills are critical for leaders and how to develop these core areas.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

Your nutritional needs evolve as you age — your body will require higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals and lower amounts of others. That’s why the best multivitamin for older adults looks different than a daily vitamin a younger person might take.

Video of the Day

Here’s a look at recommended multivitamins for older adults, along with tips about what to look for in the vitamin aisle.

  • ​Best Overall:​ Equate Complete Multivitamin 50+ ($12.98, Walmart)
  • ​Best for Men:​ Member’s Mark Men 50+ Multivitamin ($9.99, Sam’s Club)
  • ​Best for Women:​ Thorne Women’s Multi 50+ ($29.82, Walmart)
  • ​Best for People Going Through Menopause:​ Bayer One A Day Women’s 50+ ($14.45, iHerb)
  • ​Best Women’s Gummy: ​Smarty Pants Masters 50+ Multivitamin ($25.64, Amazon)
  • ​Best Men’s Gummy: ​Smarty Pants Men’s Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin ($24.22, Amazon)

How We Chose

The FDA doesn’t closely regulate supplements as it does medications, so we spoke with a dietitian and reviewed relevant research to recommend the supplements below.

We also looked for products with Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the FDA as well as compliance or verification from one of the three main independent quality control groups that test and review supplements:

  • NSF
  • ConsumerLab
  • United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)

​A quick language note:​ ​We understand that gender is a spectrum, but we use the terms “men” and “women” here to match the vitamin manufacturers’ language.

Warning

Even though multivitamins are readily available over the counter, they can be harmful when mixed with certain medications, per the FDA.

For instance, taking both warfarin and vitamin E can increase the risk for internal bleeding or stroke, as both act as blood thinners. And, people with kidney disease should speak to their docs before taking a multi because there are special multis developed for them, says certified gerontological specialist Phyllis Famularo, RD for Sodexo and adjunct assistant professor at Rutgers University.

Always talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement — especially if you’re taking medication.

With an increasingly wide and diverse array of assisted living options, figuring out how to find the best assisted living facility for your loved one can take some time. When evaluating your choices, compare factors like staff friendliness, amenities, and overall culture. Be prepared with cost, care plan, and general lifestyle questions to ask assisted living tour guides and staff to help facilitate the process.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

In this Article

Follow these simple steps and use our checklist of questions for assisted living to help make finding a community that fits your senior loved one’s specific needs easier.

1. Pay attention to cleanliness, curb appeal, and design details

The assisted living facility you choose will be your senior loved one’s new home. Details reveal how this home will be maintained, as well as how it may enrich your parent’s physical and mental well-being.

Note your first impression as you observe the community’s outdoor areas and entryways, says Louis Kievit, vice president of customer experience at Enlivant, a senior living provider with communities in 26 states. Porch seating and a garden or courtyard signal a welcoming, social tone, for example.

In addition, when choosing an assisted living facility, pay attention to the following details:

  • Safety features, like handrails, grab bars, and zero-threshold showers
  • Accessibility features, like elevators, widened doors, stairlifts, and wheelchair ramps
  • Decor details, like uplifting colors, comfortable furniture, and opportunities for personalization
  • Social areas, like dining rooms, lounge spaces, and event halls that encourage gathering
  • Cleanliness and upkeep in common areas and facility surroundings

2. Get to know caregivers and staff who provide daily support

“At the end of the day, your decision is going to be driven by, ‘Will this team have my parent’s best interest at heart?’” says Kievit. “Will they take care for them and make them feel special? People are the most vital asset.”

If possible, observe one-on-one interactions between staff and residents to assess staff compassion, friendliness, and patience. Be sure to also ask about staff accreditation, background, and training.

Questions to ask assisted living staff:

  • What is your staff-to-resident ratio? How many staff members are on duty overnight and during the day?
  • What kind of experience and training does your staff have? Do they perform background checks?
  • What is the staff turnover rate?
  • Do you have a registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse, or certified nursing assistant on staff 24/7?
  • Can staff members administer medications? Are staff members available to meet the residents’ scheduled and unscheduled medical needs? If not, are they able to contact a nearby doctor, nurse, or other licensed health care professional in the event of an emergency?
  • Are staff members available to assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) if needed? (ADLs include dressing, eating, mobility, hygiene and grooming, bathing, toileting, using the telephone, shopping, and laundry.)
  • Which organizations audit the facility? How often do they visit? What do they check for?

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

3. Get a feel for the community’s culture, programming, and amenities

Though many families looking for senior care wonder how to find the best assisted living facility, the ideal fit is different for everyone. Choosing the right assisted living facility depends on your senior loved one’s hobbies and personality, as well as how the community can support and engage them. Seniors who are intellectually engaged generally feel happier and experience lower rates of stress and cognitive decline, according to the National Institute on Aging .

“If Mom loves gardening, I would ask to see the courtyard and meet the gardening club. If it’s reading, I would ask to see the library, where she can curl up on a comfy couch and enjoy a good book,” Kievit says. “If she’s very active, ask to see a copy of the activity calendar. The apartment is mainly for sleeping and bathing. The rest of the community is home.”

Another valuable element of the community’s culture is the people. The other community residents will become your loved one’s friends and daily companions. The best assisted living facilities promote quality of life, resulting in residents who seem engaged, social, and happy. Try to tour during a group activity of interest to your parent to observe interactions among residents.

When searching for your loved one’s new home, evaluate the assisted living services and amenities your family member would enjoy, such as the chapel, fitness center, game room, or bar.

Questions to ask about community culture and activities:

  • What are the residents like?
  • Are residents actively encouraged to participate in activities and events?
  • What types of activities are available to residents? How often do they occur? Is there a posted calendar of events?
  • Is live entertainment provided? If so, what kind, and how often?
  • Do residents often interact with the surrounding community?
  • Do residents go on regular outings or do volunteers come into the community?
  • What common spaces are available to residents?
  • Do you have any outdoor spaces?
  • Are there any shared community animals, such as dogs, cats, birds, or fish?
  • Is there a place where residents can do their own gardening, arts and crafts, or other personal hobbies?
  • Is there a media or TV room?

4. Grab a bite to eat

Incorporating a meal into your tour can provide an opportunity to see available cafeteria options, in addition to the communal benefit. During conversations with other residents, ask questions about their daily routines and honest opinions on the community. In some communities, a volunteer resident ambassador may accompany staff on tours.

Questions to ask about meals:

  • How many meals are provided per day?
  • Does the menu change daily? Is the food prepared daily?
  • Can meals be tailored to a resident’s specific dietary needs, restrictions, or special requests?
  • Are there set times for meals?
  • Are residents permitted to keep food in their apartments?
  • Are there any dishes that are especially popular with residents? Can you sample them on the tour?
  • Can meals be prepared for specific holidays, birthdays, or other special occasions?

5. Consider accommodations and comfort

Is your aging loved one a social butterfly who would enjoy the company of a roommate or someone who prefers the privacy of their own space? Do they have a four-legged companion they’d like to bring along? There are plenty of pet-friendly assisted living communities to choose from, and it’s common for communities to offer a variety of room sizes and floor plans. You’ll want to take some time asking questions that give you an idea of what accommodations are available to choose the community that best fits their needs.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

When evaluating the potential performance of a bond, investors need to review certain variables. The most important aspects are the bond’s price, its interest rate and yield, its date to maturity, and its redemption features. Analyzing these key components allows you to determine whether a bond is an appropriate investment.

key takeaways

  • There are four key variables to be considered when evaluating a bond’s potential performance.
  • The bond’s current price vis-a-vis its face value is one.
  • The bond’s maturity (the number of years or months the issuer is borrowing money for) is another variable.
  • The bond’s interest rate and its yield—its effective return, based on its price and face value—is a third factor.
  • A final factor is redemption—whether the issuer can call the bond back in before its maturity date.

More Ways to Evaluate Portfolio Performance

Price

The first consideration is the price of the bond. The yield that you will receive on the bond impacts the pricing.

Bonds trade at a premium, at a discount or at par. If a bond is trading at a premium to its face value, then it usually means the prevailing interest rates are lower than the rate the bond is paying. Hence, the bond trades at a higher amount than its face value, since you are entitled to a higher interest rate than you could get from comparable instruments.

A bond is trading at a discount if the price is lower than its face value. This indicates the bond is paying a lower interest rate than the prevailing interest rate in the market. Since you can obtain a higher interest rate easily by investing in other fixed income securities, there is less demand for a bond with a lower interest rate.

A bond with a price at par is trading at its face value—the amount at which the issuer will redeem the bond at maturity. This is also called the par value.

Interest Rate and Yield

A bond pays a certain rate of interest at periodic intervals until it matures. Bonds’ interest rates, also known as the coupon rate, can be fixed, floating or only payable at maturity. The most common interest rate is a fixed rate until maturity; it’s based on the bond’s face value. Some issuers sell floating rate bonds that reset the interest based on a benchmark such as Treasury bills or LIBOR.

As their name implies, zero-coupon bonds don’t pay any interest at all. Rather, they are sold at steep discounts to their face values. This discount reflects the aggregate sum of all the interest the bond would’ve paid until maturity.

Closely related to a bond’s interest rate is its yield. The yield is the effective return earned by the bond, based on the price paid for the bond and the interest it generates. Yield on bonds is generally quoted as basis points (bps).

Two types of yield calculations exist. The current yield is the annual return on the total amount paid for the bond. It is calculated by dividing the interest rate by the purchase price. The current yield does not account for the amount you will receive if you hold bond to maturity. The yield-to-maturity (YTM) is the total amount you will receive by holding the bond until the end of its lifespan The yield to maturity allows for the comparison of different bonds with varying maturities and interest rates.

For bonds that have redemption provisions, there is the yield to call, which calculates the yield until the issuer can call the bond—that is, demand that investors surrender it, in return for a payoff.

When interest rates rise, bond prices fall. Conversely, when interest rates fall, bond prices rise.

Maturity

The maturity of a bond is the future date at which your principal will be repaid. Bonds generally have maturities of anywhere from one to 30 years. Short-term bonds have maturities of one to five years. Medium-term bonds have maturities of five to 12 years. Long-term bonds have maturities greater than 12 years.  

The maturity of a bond is important when considering interest rate risk. Interest rate risk is the amount a bond’s price will rise or fall with a decrease or increase in interest rates. If a bond has a longer maturity, it also has a greater interest rate risk.

Redemption

Some bonds allow the issuer to redeem the bond prior to the date of maturity. This allows the issuer to refinance its debt if interest rates fall. A call provision allows the issuer to redeem the bond at a specific price at a date before maturity. A put provision allows you to sell it back to the issuer at a specified price prior to maturity.

A call provision often pays a higher interest rate. If you hold such a bond, you are taking on additional risk that the bond will be redeemed and you will be forced to invest your money elsewhere, probably at a lower interest rate (a decline in interest rates is usually what triggers a call provision). To compensate you for taking on this chance, the bond pays more interest.

Taking the dread out of downsizing for more than 15 years!

Senior Move Services takes the dread out of downsizing for seniors in Kansas City by simplifying the moving process and acting as each client’s single point of contact.

A later-life move requires making a lot of decisions. How do we deal with the stuff that’s left behind? The “stuff” and what to do with it seems to be the number one reason people stay in their homes instead of relocating to smaller, safer and more manageable environments. After our clients have chosen what to move forward with them, they often want to give things to children and grandchildren. We have packed boxes for the kids and arranged to have furniture shipped, all over the country. I often recommend that clients ask their children what they would like to have before we go to the trouble and expense of packing and shipping things they don’t want. Some clients have done their homework and arranged for an estate sale. Most have merely wondered about estate sales, auctions and donations. Many people think their stuff will bring a lot of money but times change and the dining room buffet, table and china cabinet that cost several thousand dollars (and that you’ve used for 40 years) may end up selling for a few hundred dollars. We’ve been in business long enough now to recognize who to recommend for the sale based on the kind and amount of items to be sold.

Often, an estate sale is not the best way to dispose of personal property. The location of the home and the time available to prepare for a sale may make it impossible but great alternatives exist. Consider an auction. Our contacts will bring the truck, tubs and people needed to take things they believe their clients will buy. They keep a percentage and you get a check. If you want to donate some of your items we list them and give you the fair market value of each item for your taxes. It helps to know the rules and regulations for the local charities. Some will not come into the home, some will not take mattresses. Some need a lot more information than others. Sometimes we find an item so unusual and perhaps valuable that we refer it to an appraiser. One of our clients received a check for over $5,000 for a stuffed toy bear (that nearly went to charity) when I suggested that a doll and toy appraiser evaluate it. Often, we order a dumpster for the amount of stuff that has absolutely no value. Many choices for dispersing the property from the family home exist.

My best advice: Start making choices early so that you feel less overwhelmed when you actually do move.

Here are 12 ways to liquidate the stuff you no longer need:

  1. Give some things to your children and grandchildren (ask them for a list)
  2. Donate to charity
  3. Have an estate sale
  4. Call appraisers for specific items (old toys, silver, art)
  5. Send items to auction and see what they bring
  6. Consign furniture and knickknacks with a reseller who has a physical store with lots of foot traffic
  7. Mid-century furniture call Retro Inferno in Kansas City, MO
  8. Hire an e-bay reseller
  9. Sell on Craigslist (be careful)
  10. For those with Vintage clothes, call Re-Runs in Kansas City, MO
  11. Call a liquidator (you may have to write a check rather than receive one)
  12. Call Gerre at Senior Move Services for your free consultation at 913-302-5214

Article 23 tackles age discrimination outside employment in different areas, namely access to goods, facilities and services, healthcare, education, insurance and banking, participation in policy making/civil dialogue, allocation of resources and facilities. The Committee considers that an adequate legal framework is fundamental to combat such discrimination.

Article 23 also requires States Parties to take appropriate measures against elder abuse. These measures may be legislative or otherwise and should allow States to evaluate the extent of the problem and to raise awareness on the need to eradicate elder abuse and neglect.

Under Article 23, pensions and other state benefits must be sufficient to allow elderly persons to lead a ‘decent life’ and play an active part in public, social and cultural life. Furthermore, States must provide information about the services and facilities themselves available for elderly persons such as: home-help services, day centres, housing services, cultural, educational and leisure activities.

The needs of elderly persons must be addressed in national or local housing policies, backed by law. The supply of adequate housing for them must be sufficient and adequate.

As for healthcare, Article 23 requires that healthcare programmes and services (notably primary care including domiciliary nursing or care) specifically designed for the elderly must exist alongside guidelines thereon. In addition, there should be mental health programmes to tackle psychological problems of the elderly.

The rights of elderly persons living in institutions must also be guaranteed: the right to appropriate care and adequate services, the right to privacy, the right to personal dignity, the right to participate in decisions concerning the living conditions in the institution, the protection of property, the right to maintain personal contact with persons close to the elderly person and the right to complain about treatment and care in institutions. There should be a sufficient supply of institutional facilities for elderly persons (public or private), they should be affordable, and assistance must be available to cover the cost.

For more on Article 23 of the Charter and its interpretation by the European Committee of Social Rights, see the Digest of the case law.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

Jack McGuinness

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

How to evaluate the needs of a seniorMost would agree that a great leadership team can and should be a powerful competitive advantage for any organization. Unfortunately, great leadership teams are scarce – just ask employees in a lunch room or lobby about ‘the leadership team’ and responses are similar – ‘what team?’; ‘I wouldn’t really call them a team’; ‘they’re more like a dysfunctional group’. And most senior executives agree with these sentiments. In fact, a recent Center for Creative Leadership study revealed that only 18% of senior executives rated their teams as ‘very effective’ while 97% ‘agreed’ that increased effectiveness would have a positive impact on their organizations.

What Does a Great Leadership Team Do?

So, what can be done to ensure that leadership teams have this desired positive impact? In our opinion it all starts with what it means to be a ‘team’ and there is no better definition than from team guru Jon Katzenbach — ‘a team is a small number of people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.’ For the purpose of this article we will focus on three parts of this definition. Performance goals, common purpose, and mutual accountability provide the foundation upon which a leadership team can measure its effectiveness. Specifically, a great leadership team has three primary roles that require them to hold each other accountable to a set performance goals and a common purpose. One role is to serve as the steward for their organization’s strategic direction. Another important role is to leverage the skills and experience of team members to focus on the most pressing issues facing the organization. A leadership team is also responsible for modeling and cascading desired behavioral expectations or culture throughout their organizations.

Challenges

For a number of reasons, many leadership teams struggle to put these roles into practice. First, CEOs often inadvertently structure their teams as senior staff groups where the most meaningful business interactions are between the CEO and his departmental direct reports. Next, shaping a leadership team purpose and related goals is difficult and requires a team to go beyond simply assuming that their purpose is to execute the organization’s strategy. This assumption is insufficient for clarifying what a team must work on together and how it will do so. Another challenge is that CEO’s sometimes assume that talented senior executives know how to function as a team. In many cases, by the time executives have risen to the ranks of the senior team they have mastered individual accountability and frequently struggle to embrace their new enterprise roles and the concept of mutual accountability.

When leadership teams fail to play these important roles the rest of the organization eventually feels the impact. The bullet points below highlight some of these impacts.

• Repeatedly missing big numbers – sales, margins, customer satisfaction, new product launches.

• Departments working at cross purposes or duplicating efforts which negatively impacts productivity and collaboration and frustrates customers.

• Continually shifting (and often unstated) priorities and a reactive operating rhythm.

• Declining employee engagement and increasing turnover of the employees the organization wants to retain.

Measurement Framework

Google’s seminal study to determine what makes a ‘perfect team’ revealed that ‘to build a successful team, you must find the right balance between results and culture.’ This balanced approach is critical for addressing the types of challenges listed above. Specifically, too much emphasis on results at the expense of healthy team dynamics will eventually jeopardize the team’s ability to sustain results. The opposite is also true – a team that is hyper focused on building a great culture and takes its eye off of why the team exists will also hinder results. To ensure that this balance is maintained, leadership teams must build it into how they measure their performance.

How to evaluate the needs of a seniorMeasuring Stewardship

Comprised of senior leaders of diverse functions leadership teams must work together to solve shared problems and ensure aligned action and collective responsibility for the organization’s performance. Stewardship success depends on the ability and willingness of each team member to address not just their individual functional or business unit responsibilities but also their collective responsibility for the company as a whole. Senior executives are uniquely positioned to take a global perspective on the business, recognize patterns, evaluate and assess risks and direct the organization to take necessary action. They don’t need to agree on everything, but they do need to be aligned and stand behind collective decisions.

Given the strategic nature of a leadership team’s stewardship role, measuring effectiveness requires a long-term perspective and can be challenging. From a business results perspective, great leadership teams take on mutual accountability for achievement of the strategic direction. Even in those cases where a functional leader might have limited input or influence, on great leadership teams the team wins only when key long-term targets are met such as market share, growth, earnings, etc. Great leadership teams also recognize that at times their ability to subordinate functional roles to enterprise roles, engage productively with each other on difficult challenges, and treat each other with integrity and respect will facilitate their ability to effectively play their stewardship role and help cascade a positive culture throughout their organizations. The table below provides a framework for measuring a leadership teams stewardship role.

How to evaluate the needs of a senior

If you suspect your elderly parent isn’t driving as well as they used to, there are actions you can take to help.

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Some older adults can drive safely in their 80s and even early 90s, but many seniors develop hearing, vision, cognitive and other problems that impair their ability to drive safely. Loss of the ability to drive can isolate older adults, leading to poor nutrition, health problems and depression.

“Determining your parents’ driving ability is the first step toward helping them maintain their independence – and their health,” says internist and geriatrics specialist Kenneth Koncilja, MD.

How to assess your aging parent’s driving skills

“There are a number of things you can look for when deciding whether your parent needs to have a professional driving assessment,” says Dr. Koncilja.

Take a ride with your parent and allow them to drive you to the supermarket or other familiar destination. During the trip, observe whether your loved one can:

  • Decide on a route to the destination.
  • Get back home by an alternate route.
  • Recognize and observe street signs and signals.
  • Change lanes safely by first signaling other drivers.

“Remember, just because mom has a different driving style doesn’t mean she’s a bad or unsafe driver,” he says. Some adult children complain that their parent is a slow driver, or that dad chooses to use a route that allows him to avoid freeways, making the trip longer.

This is actually a type of self-monitoring, which shows that your loved one is aware of personal limitations and is self-restricting as a precaution.

If you notice that your parent has trouble handling things at home, such as preparing a meal with three or four courses, or other multi-step tasks, they may also have trouble handling more complex driving situations.

Get a doctor’s opinion

Make an appointment with your loved one’s physician. Ask the doctor to determine if an occupational therapy driving evaluation could help your parent. The doctor can write a prescription for the evaluation and periodic visits to the driving clinic, if necessary.

Patients with neurocognitive disorders (dementia) should include family or caregivers in the discussion with their physician. A diagnosis of dementia is most predictive of unsafe driving in older adults. Predictors of unsafe driving include recent traffic citations, motor vehicle accidents and self-reported situational avoidance, such as limiting driving to familiar neighborhoods.

“My goal is to help aging adults stay on the road as long as possible without jeopardizing safety,” says Dr. Koncilja.

Additionally, make sure your loved one sees the eye doctor regularly so that their eyeglass prescription is always up to date.

Tips for safer elderly driving

Here are some common restrictions that can help elderly drivers:

  • Avoid night driving. Because of cataracts and other vision impairments, many seniors have trouble with night driving and should restrict driving from dusk to dawn. If cataracts cause the problem, simply having them removed could eliminate the need for this restriction.
  • Avoid freeway or interstate driving. The heavier, fast-moving traffic can cause anxiety and confusion in many elderly drivers. If this is the case, show mom or dad alternative routes that use slower roadways.
  • Avoid weekend driving. More people are out on the roads during weekends, making roads and parking areas more congested. This makes it harder for seniors to navigate crowded parking lots where people are milling around, and crossing to and from their cars.

It’s easier to talk to your parent about self-restricting based on their individual limitations and comfort levels. Seeing a driver rehabilitation specialist can help, too. The evaluator can offer insight for restrictions and tips to enhance driving ability based on your parent’s individual needs.

“You see your eye doctor, dentist and primary physician on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to visit your professional driving evaluator for regular checkups, too,” he says. “These regular assessments can actually help seniors keep driving safely for longer.”​