Senior Living Blog

Free Caption Phone Helps People with Hearing Loss Stay in Touch

Phone conversation is displayed in text on a large screen

Because using the telephone can become difficult (if not impossible) for people with hearing difficulties, many tend to avoid phone conversations. Not only does this diminish their social and business interactions, but it also robs them of a valuable lifeline if they need help.

The CaptionCall® captioned telephone works like a regular telephone—just dial and answer calls as usual. Speak and listen using the phone handset. The caption phone displays the live phone conversation in easy-to-read text on a large screen.

Provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for those who have professionally certified hearing loss, the phone and caption service are free of charge for those who qualify. Simply complete a form on the CaptionCall website and have a doctor in one of the approved areas of practice sign the form.

If you’re unable to get a doctor’s signature, you can pay a one-time $75 fee to self-certify the phone user’s medically recognized hearing loss. There are no extra charges for delivery, installation, or customer support.

 Before you order, make sure the phone user has the following:

  • Medically recognized hearing loss
  • High-speed Internet connection
  • Standard home phone connection
  • Standard electrical outlet

 For hearing-impaired iPad users, a free mobile app enables CaptionCall customers to make and receive calls directly on their iPad.

After you order the phone, a local trainer helps install the device in the house. The trainer then shows the user (and his or her family) how it works. The trainer also helps complete the paperwork required by the FCC.

Five Habits of Successful, Loving Older Couples

This Valentines Day, remind yourself how stay in love for years

Everyone knows couples who’ve been together for decades—perhaps you’re among them—and whose relationships still seem genuinely happy and harmonious. Our communities are filled with couples and those who understand how love lasts. What behaviors, traits, and tactics might be key to their long-term relationship success? Relationship experts- and many seniors often cite these five habits.

Notice and stay open to changes. Don’t assume your partner is the same person he or she was decades ago—although, of course, there will be similarities. Learn your partner’s goals, dreams, and future plans. Keep in tune with who your partner is in the moment and open yourself to who he or she might become.

Accept the challenges of aging. Vulnerabilities arise over the years. Support each other as you deal with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges and feelings about aging and death. Share thoughts on what lies ahead and face the future as collaborators who will be there for each other throughout the difficulties.

Don’t be afraid to fight fairly. All couples, including the most successful ones, have arguments and conflicts. Happy couples don’t hide from fights. They listen, speak their mind, negotiate, and tell the truth while trying not to be hurtful. After “good fights,” the smoke clears—and issues and complaints tend to get resolved.

Apologize and bounce back. Connected couples don’t shy away from hashing it out, but they also tend to bounce back quickly. They’d rather forego drawn-out grudge holding, pouting, silent punishing, lasting resentments, and late-night “rebound fighting.” These couples get bored with continuous bickering; they’d just as soon get on with being a contented twosome. But apologies are not skipped over. Sincere apologies build respect, empathy, and belief that the other person was truly listening.

Take care of yourself. People in lasting partnerships know their own shortcomings and emotional issues, and take responsibility for seeking counseling and practicing self-help. Strong partners also know that they cannot be “everything” to each other. They create relationships, pursuits, and hobbies that thrive outside of the twosome—and often make the relationship stronger.

February Is American Heart Month

This month is also marks the “Go Red for Women” campaign

Ever since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first American Heart Month in 1964, the month of February has been dedicated to cardiovascular health awareness. Cardiovascular disease is the nation’s No. 1 cause of death for both men and women, killing an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. At our communities we make sure that a healthy diet and exercise are part of everyday living.

In the U.S., the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Men and women can greatly reduce their risk for CAD through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication. The American Heart Association conducts research and raises awareness to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans. Throughout February awareness about heart health is evident everywhere- from grocery stores to sporting events.

Since 2004, February also has been the signature month for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign to spread the message that heart disease is not only a man’s problem.

National Wear Red Day

On Friday, February 3, the American Heart Association and Go Red For Women celebrate American Heart Month and raise heart disease awareness by encouraging participating in National Wear Red Day. Every 80 seconds, one woman is killed by heart disease and stroke. That’s 1 in 3 deaths among women each year. Eighty percent of these deaths can be prevented with education and action. By wearing red and using the social-media hashtag #GoRedWearRed, you can help raise women’s awareness and support education on cardiovascular health.

What’s Ahead From Our New President?

At this writing, the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump plays out, and the country’s emotions remain divided with celebrating and protesting.

It’s bound to be another year of healthcare upheavals as we wait to see if the incoming administration will follow through on its promise to “repeal and replace” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and call for other reforms that would potentially affect Medicaid funding, pharmaceutical regulation and the health insurance industry.

…read more at Senior Living News

The Surprising Benefits of Senior Living Communities

Growing numbers of seniors are enjoying their housing options

A large segment of the older population in the Unites States—individuals between the ages of 65 and 84—will increase by nearly 40 percent between 2010 and 2020, says the U.S. Census Bureau. The population over age 85 will rise by nearly 19 percent. By 2060, says the Administration on Aging (AOA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there will be about 98 million older persons, more than twice the number in 2014.

These statistics confirm the trend toward ever-growing numbers of older Americans whose need for senior-focused living situations has spurred one of the nation’s most powerful growth industries: living facilities that specialize in catering to older Americans.

By all accounts, the nearly 1 million older adults who currently live in senior communities are happy in their environments. A recent poll by Argentum (formerly Assisted Living Federation of America) found that 93 percent of residents in senior living facilities feel satisfied with the communities they live in. The survey also reported that nearly all residents—99 percent—say they feel safe in their living communities.

More communities are now being designed and updated to appeal to active seniors with a variety of abilities, interests, and preferences. As a leader in senior living management, ISL knows well what appeals to today’s seniors.  Here are a few of the most often cited reasons that older adults are choosing to move to senior living communities.

Safety. Good facilities have 24-hour staffing, state-of-the-art security systems, easy-access and handicap features, and emergency-medical services.

Social connections. Studies show that participating in social activities helps maintain cognitive health. Residents make friends, eat meals together, and celebrate holidays as a community. Senior facilities offer a wide variety of activities for residents, both on site and off. Classes, workshops, fitness options, dancing, reading groups, outdoor excursions, field trips—there is something for everyone!

No home maintenance and repair. Keeping up a home, inside and outside, is labor intensive, physically demanding, and expensive. Most senior-living residents are glad to say good-bye to these burdensome chores so they can spend time on other interests, hobbies, and activities.

Prepared meals. No more grocery shopping, meal planning, and food preparation. Residents can enjoy fine dining on a daily basis—without all the work. Many facilities offer alternative meals and can accommodate special diet needs. New residents commonly experience improvements in health and well being simply from everyday access to healthful, regular mealtimes.

If any of these reasons are appealing, maybe now is the time to look into a senior living community as a viable option in 2017!  Contact ISL to learn more.

Important Changes to Social Security in 2017

A look at the new Social Security rules for the coming year

Each October, the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) announces the changes to this critical social program for the upcoming year. Here’s a summary of the new rules that may affect Social Security recipients in 2017.

Slight increase in payments. Social Security payments will rise by 0.3 percent beginning in January 2017 to keep pace with inflation. The SSA says that cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) of 0.3 percent average out to an estimated $5 increase per month in 2017 for recipients.

Higher earners pay more. Most workers pay 6.2 percent of their earnings into the Social Security system and employers match this amount, until the worker’s salary exceeds the maximum taxable amount. That maximum amount will increase from $118,500 in 2016 to $127,200 in 2017. This change means that about 12 million higher-earning workers are expected to pay more into the Social Security system.

Maximum benefit is higher. In 2017, the highest possible payout for a person at full retirement age is $2,687, up $48 for 2016. However, those who delay starting payments until after they’ve reached full retirement age (up to age 70) may qualify for higher monthly payments.

Full retirement age rises. The SSA defines “full retirement age” (FRA) as the age at which an individual becomes entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits. For those born between 1943 and 1954, the FRA is 66. In 2017, the FRA increases to 66 years and 2 months to those born in 1955. This FRA hike will continue each year, reaching 67 years for people born in 1960 or later.

Recipients can earn more. If you are age 65 and younger and you collect Social Security benefits but still work in 2017, you can earn up to $16,920 per year (up from $15,720 in 2016) without having benefits withheld. If you earn more than that annual amount, for every $2 you earn, $1 of benefits will be withheld. If you reach age 66 (full retirement age) in 2017, $1 of benefits will be withheld for every $3 earned above $44,880. At your full retirement age, the SSA recalculates your benefits to give you credit for the amount withheld. Starting at the month you reach full retirement age, Social Security payments are no longer withheld if you work, regardless of your earnings.

No file and suspend. In past years, a beneficiary between ages 66 and 70 could claim and then voluntarily suspend Social Security payments, allowing the beneficiary’s spouse to receive benefits on the beneficiary’s record while the beneficiary’s benefits accrued. Starting in 2017, no one can do this. This new rule does not affect payments to divorced spouses, who will continue to receive the full divorced spousal benefit if the ex-spouse suspends his or her retirement benefit.

No double claiming. Dual-earner married couples who are 66 or older have had the option to collect spousal payments worth half of the higher earner’s benefit amount, and then later switch to payments based on their own work record (and those payments are higher due to delayed claiming). But people who turned 62 on or after January 2, 2016, will no longer be able to claim both a spousal payment and an individual payment at different times. Married retirees will now automatically receive the higher of the two benefit options and can no longer claim both types of payments at different times.

January Is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

More than 3 million Americans have glaucoma—but half are un-diagnosed

 “Speed the cure. Spread the word,” says the Glaucoma Research Foundation. The first month of the new year is a good time to learn about and spread awareness of this sight-stealing disease. Glaucoma may affect as many as 4.2 million Americans by 2030, a 58 percent increase, says the National Eye Institute.

Glaucoma is known as “the sneak thief of sight” because there may be no symptoms and as much as 40 percent of vision can be slowly lost without a person noticing. And once vision is lost, it’s permanent.

The good news is that glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. While there is no cure for glaucoma—yet—medication or surgery can slow or prevent vision loss. Early detection is key to stopping the progress of the disease.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is characterized by increased intraocular pressure, or pressure due to buildup of fluid within the eye. This pressure can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. In the U.S., approximately 120,000 people are blind from glaucoma, accounting for up to 12 percent of all cases of blindness.

Who is at risk?

People of any age or race can get glaucoma, but these groups are at higher risk:

  • African Americans or Hispanics (especially over age 40)
  • People over age 60
  • People with a family history of the condition
  • Those diagnosed (during an eye exam) with high internal eye pressure
  • Those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sickle cell anemia
  • Those who have had an eye injury or eye surgery
  • Those with certain eye conditions, such as severe nearsightedness
  • Women with early estrogen deficiency
  • Those taking corticosteroid medication, specially eyedrops, for a long time

How can you protect your vision?

Early detection and treatment of glaucoma, before it causes vision loss, is the best way to control the disease. If you fall into one or more of the high-risk groups, is to get a comprehensive eye exam. The Mayo Clinic advises scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams beginning at age 40. Ask your doctor to recommend the right screening schedule for you.

Happy New Year!

We at ISL are ringing in the New Year with a story of love. Over the holidays, a couple that met at one of our communities decided to tie the knot.  Bob Segal and Joan Cimino are residents at Mission Hills Senior Living in Rancho Mirage, California. Bob moved in May 2016, and Joan one month later. At a summer event, the two danced for the first time and the rest you might say is history. Bob proposed and the two celebrated a lovely wedding at Mission Hills with friends and family in attendance. Both Joan and Bob are very social in the community. They regale the residents with stories from their past just to entertain. Joan often tap dances at musical engagements while Bob supports and adores her from the audience. Everyone enjoys their vibrant energy as they smile and laugh, encouraging others to do the same.

We wish this happy couple the very best in the new year!

To see more about the couple and their nuptials visit:

http://www.kesq.com/news/valley-couple-get-married-at-a-rancho-mirage-senior-center/235317485

R-E-S-P-I-T-E! Spells Relief!

Caregivers Can Plan Ahead for the Holiday Season and Make Time for Themselves

ISL Communities can help!

With a record number of senior adults staying in their homes longer, frequently older American’s are relying on family and friends for their care. In fact, millions of families provide unpaid care for seniors 60 or older, spending on average 20+ hours a week helping with ongoing home care. For these devoted caregivers, the holiday season can add additional stress; torn between the desire to travel or take extra time to spend with others, and the need to provide quality care for loved ones. But there is a solution that is often overlooked, it is called respite or short-term care. Respite care offers caregivers and families the opportunity to temporarily give some time back to themselves while their family member receives the care and services they need in a temporary, welcoming environment. Many Integral Senior Living communities offer respite care.

Respite care is a temporary, short-term stay. Think of it as a mini-vacation (3 – 30 days) for both the caregiver and senior who must have care. Respite services give caregivers that rare chance to step away from their day-to-day responsibilities. Often it is seniors who are providing care for their spouses. This is where a little respite care can make a huge difference. Taking that much-needed break to care for there own needs helps caregivers avoid burnout, stress and fatigue.

“We often see family members come to our communities exhausted and frustrated, reaching their breaking point. They need help and a break, sometimes to step back for a breath of fresh air,” said Collette Valentines CEO/COO of ISL . “Feelings of depression, frustration and isolation often become so overwhelming for the caregiver. Often they neglect their own health concerns and that is where respite care can help.”  

Respite stays can range from a few days to a few weeks.  And placing a loved one in a stay is easier than most families realize, in fact it can take less than 24 hours. All that is often required is a physician’s report, an assessment by the community and for the guest to bring his or her own pharmaceuticals with them.  The fee is based on needs, many starting at about  $150 a day. Compare that to a hotel stay and checking out a senior living community is a much better option, meals, 24-jour supervision, care needs (Assistance with daily living) is all included in respite.

There is evidence that the family caregiver who takes a break from the associated stresses is better able to provide quality care. The demands of providing care are much more than a physical demand.  It is often just as emotional taking care of a loved one.  To provide good care, the caregiver needs to allow time for themselves – it’s a tough round-the-clock, hands-on job.

Check out your local ISL community for more information about respite care services.

Stay Connected with Grandkids this Fall

Tips for keeping in touch once summer is over 

In the summertime, when kids are out of school, grandparents and grandchildren often have more opportunities to visit each other. Many grandparents and grandkids love spending time together during the summer months, but how can you stay close now that fall is here and the kids are back in school?

A 2012 AARP study showed that 45 percent of grandparents live more than 200 miles away from their grandchildren and 80 percent live at least 50 miles away, so if you feel like a long-distance grandparent, you’re not alone. These suggestions can help you feel connected when you’re far away from your grandchildren.

Use technology. If you’re tech-savvy, stay in touch through e-mails, video-chats via Skype sessions, and sharing digital photos. Catch up online with grandkids and post photos on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Another option is to play games together online—your grandkids can probably suggest a few! Of course, old-fashioned phone calls are still fun, but consider filling in phone sessions with texting, a favorite mode of communication among younger phone users.

Snail mail! Be a maverick and send a handwritten letter. Kids don’t get much mail these days, so a getting hand-addressed letter or a card can be super-exciting! Illustrate your letter if you’re clever with drawing—or decorate it with age-appropriate stickers or photos of family or pets.

Read a book at the same time. Let your grandchild choose a book he or she wants to read—or recommend one you liked at a similar age. Use video-chat sessions to either read the book aloud or to discuss the book as you go. You can also talk about the book via emails or on Facebook.

Stay in touch with your own kids. Your grandchildren’s parents can your best allies in helping you maintain contact with your grandkids. Your kids will likely be thrilled to keep you informed of events in your grandchildren’s lives, which gives you conversation-starters when you communicate with your grandkids.  

Share your hobby—or take up a hobby together. Teach your grandkids an art, craft, sport, pastime, or activity you love or talk about a personal passion—horses, music, robots, science, collecting, gardening, etc. Or encourage grandkids to show you a pastime they love. You might find common ground for a shared hobby you can pursue and discuss for years to come.