Living Well In Our Advanced Age
Today we are witnessing unprecedented growth in services to the aging. And good reason – sources say people over 100 are one of the most rapidly growing demographic groups. Locally, growth is fueled by a number of trends including a 32% increase in people 50+ over the next ten years in Fairfax County and Alexandria (that includes a 58% increase in the 70+ category). A great number of these seniors will be baby boomers with spending power of an estimated $2 trillion. Increased education levels of this future population may lead to better health, higher incomes and higher standards of living in retirement. A majority of seniors want to maintain a life of physical and cultural fitness and activity.
Another issue – adult children are called the sandwich generation, because they are actively involved with their children and their parents. Both spouses are probably working and often not living near aging parents. They are now asking for assistance in understanding options and helping their parents find continued well-being and a productive life.
In addition to the popular 55+ communities the likes of The Crest of Alexandria that are going up right and left in the area and the construction of the new Brandywine Living at Alexandria, there are many seniors who are opting to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Thankfully there are entities in our community that provide assistance at all levels. Here are just some of these options:
Seniors Living Well, LLC
The U.S. population aged 65 and over will jump nearly 80 percent as the Baby Boom generation continues to retire (from 2010 to 2030.) By 2030, older adults will account for one-fifth of the total U.S. population. Did you also know that Americans age 85 and above comprise the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population?
As this population continues to age, they will require a home environment that is more conducive to their current life and lifestyle. Many of this group have not moved in 30, 40 or 50 years and need to downsize considerably. Organizational and physical tasks associated with preparing for a home modification or planning and implementing a complex move to a senior living community can be overwhelming for the entire family, especially if adult children or family members live far away.
Seeking help from an experienced, insured professional – a Senior Move Manager®, is a step in the right direction. Seniors Living Well, LLC, strives to facilitate the physical and emotional aspects of the transition process with compassion and integrity. A member of National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) since 2009, they continue to perform the role of surrogate family members for their clients.
Some of the services offered by Seniors Living Well, LLC are as follows:
- • Developing an overall move or “age in place” plan
- • Organizing, sorting and downsizing
- • Customized furniture / space plans
- • Arranging for the profitable disposal of unwanted items through auction, estate sale, buy-out, consignment, donation, or a combination of the above
- • Interviewing, scheduling and overseeing movers
- • Arranging shipments and storage
- • Supervise and oversight of professional packing
- • Unpacking and setting up the new home
- • Related services, such as cleaning, waste removal, shopping, senior escort, assisting with selection of a realtor and helping prepare the home to be sold.
Improving the quality of one’s life at any age is important. It is not necessary to walk the road alone. Scheduling a consultation is the first step and we are here to help.
Mount Vernon At Home
Mount Vernon At Home is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help older residents of the Mount Vernon area live safely, comfortably, and confidently in their own homes for as long as possible, in the community they love. We are part of the “village” movement supporting the lifetime independence of older adults. Mount Vernon At Home provides practical solutions, the services of willing volunteers, and the heightened confidence to enable successful “aging in place.”
Mount Vernon At Home offers its “Members” and “Friends” a broad spectrum of ongoing social, educational, and cultural activities giving our members opportunity to socialize, learn and make new friends. “Friends of Mount Vernon At Home” are not confined by our geographical boundaries and are able to participate in all social, educational, and cultural events.
“Mount Vernon At Home Members” live within the Mount Vernon community
and have additional volunteer services available to them. Examples of our volunteer services include rides to local medical appointments, grocery shopping, errands; light handyman chores; home technology assistance; and home organization. With one call to our office, we match each member request with a willing volunteer who will help get the job done.
With Mount Vernon at Home membership, families enjoy increased peace of mind, knowing that we will be here to offer support, services, and practical solutions if our members’ needs change.
Membership or Friendship can also be valuable for local residents with aging family living far away. We can assist you in knowing what questions to ask, maximizing health insurance benefits, and providing additional support.
Mount Vernon At Home believes that “it takes a village” to keep seniors safe and confident in their own homes. For more information on becoming a member, donor or volunteer see contact information below.
Contact: Executive Director, Erica Frazier,at 703-303-4060, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at mountvernonathome.org.
Connections for Seniors – Battling the Loss of Purpose
When I meet a caregiver, I often ask the following questions about the person with memory loss: How does she/he spend the day? What does she/he look forward to? How often does she/he feel a sense of accomplishment? What I really want to know is whether she/he is engaged in life, because every one of us deserves that. All too often, the answers sadden me. Friends aren’t visiting much, people aren’t coming to her/him for advice anymore, employment or volunteer obligations became too difficult to perform. It can be isolating. Individuals with memory loss face so many challenges, from losing their independence to losing their ability to communicate and self-direct, to facing loneliness and depression. We cannot allow them to also lose their sense of purpose.
The quest to maintain identity, engagement and purpose often falls on the primary caregiver. The challenge is, many caregivers are exhausted and overwhelmed by the emotional intensity and unpredictability of the situation. They have major responsibilities like managing medical care and finances, not to mention all of the daily tasks. Some are working full-time. Some are juggling the needs of elderly parents and young children. Caregivers often neglect their own health and well-being as a result. They need help to keep their loved ones engaged and keep their identities alive. We as friends, family members, neighbors, and professionals can make a meaningful difference.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what to say; the important thing is your kindness and interest. Here are a few approaches I suggest:
1 – Honor their life story and achievements. Reminisce.
2 – Give them opportunities to contribute thoughts, knowledge and advice.
3 – Listen.
Eleanor Roosevelt said “I could not at any age be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” Nor should we turn our backs on elders with memory loss.