Advocacy Groups

Preventing Falls and Fractures


Senior Help Desk helthcare blog credited to The National Institute on Aging, part of NIH

Prevent Falls and Fractures

A simple thing can change your life—like tripping on a rug or slipping on a wet floor. If you fall, you could break a bone, like thousands of older men and women do each year. For older people, a break can be the start of more serious problems, such as a trip to the hospital, injury, or even disability.

If you or an older person you know has fallen, you're not alone. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling—and fall-related problems—rises with age.

Many Older Adults Fear Falling

The fear of falling becomes more common as people age, even among those who haven't fallen. It may lead older people to avoid activities such as walking, shopping, or taking part in social activities.

But don't let a fear of falling keep you from being active. Overcoming this fear can help you stay active, maintain your physical health, and prevent future falls. Doing things like getting together with friends, gardening, walking, or going to the local senior center helps you stay healthy. The good news is, there are simple ways to prevent most falls.

Causes and Risk Factors for Falls

Many things can cause a fall. Your eyesight, hearing, and reflexes might not be as sharp as they were when you were younger. Diabetes, heart disease, or problems with your thyroid, nerves, feet, or blood vessels can affect your balance. Some medicines can cause you to feel dizzy or sleepy, making you more likely to fall. Other causes include safety hazards in the home or community environment.

Scientists have linked several personal risk factors to falling, including muscle weakness, problems with balance and gait, and blood pressure that drops too much when you get up from lying down or sitting (called postural hypotension). Foot problems that cause pain and unsafe footwear, like backless shoes or high heels, can also increase your risk of falling.

Confusion can sometimes lead to falls. For example, if you wake up in an unfamiliar environment, you might feel unsure of where you are. If you feel confused, wait for your mind to clear or until someone comes to help you before trying to get up and walk around.

Some medications can increase a person's risk of falling because they cause side effects like dizziness or confusion. The more medications you take, the more likely you are to fall.

Take the Right Steps to Prevent Falls

If you take care of your overall health, you may be able to lower your chances of falling. Most of the time, falls and accidents don't "just happen." Here are a few tips to help you avoid falls and broken bones:

  • Stay physically active. Plan an exercise program that is right for you. Regular exercise improves muscles and makes you stronger. It also helps keep your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible. Mild weight-bearing activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, may slow bone loss from osteoporosis.
  • Have your eyes and hearing tested. Even small changes in sight and hearing may cause you to fall. When you get new eyeglasses or contact lenses, take time to get used to them. Always wear your glasses or contacts when you need them If you have a hearing aid, be sure it fits well and wear it.
  • Find out about the side effects of any medicine you take. If a drug makes you sleepy or dizzy, tell your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Get enough sleep. If you are sleepy, you are more likely to fall.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes. Studies show that the rate of hip fractures in older adults increases with alcohol use.
  • Stand up slowly. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop. That can make you feel wobbly. Get your blood pressure checked when lying and standing.
  • Use an assistive device if you need help feeling steady when you walk. Appropriate use of canes and walkers can prevent falls. If your doctor tells you to use a cane or walker, make sure it is the right size for you and the wheels roll smoothly. This is important when you're walking in areas you don't know well or where the walkways are uneven. A physical or occupational therapist can help you decide which devices might be helpful and teach you how to use them safely.
  • Be very careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces. They can be very slippery! Try to have sand or salt spread on icy areas by your front or back door.
  • Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes, or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet. It is important that the soles are not too thin or too thick. Don't walk on stairs or floors in socks or in shoes and slippers with smooth soles.
  • Always tell your doctor if you have fallen since your last checkup, even if you aren't hurt when you fall. A fall can alert your doctor to a new medical problem or problems with your medications or eyesight that can be corrected. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy, a walking aid, or other steps to help prevent future falls.

What to Do If You Fall

Whether you are at home or somewhere else, a sudden fall can be startling and upsetting. If you do fall, stay as calm as possible.

Take several deep breaths to try to relax. Remain still on the floor or ground for a few moments. This will help you get over the shock of falling.

Decide if you are hurt before getting up. Getting up too quickly or in the wrong way could make an injury worse.

If you think you can get up safely without help, roll over onto your side. Rest again while your body and blood pressure adjust. Slowly get up on your hands and knees, and crawl to a sturdy chair.

Put your hands on the chair seat and slide one foot forward so that it is flat on the floor. Keep the other leg bent so the knee is on the floor. From this kneeling position, slowly rise and turn your body to sit in the chair.

If you are hurt or cannot get up on your own, ask someone for help or call 911. If you are alone, try to get into a comfortable position and wait for help to arrive.

Carrying a mobile or portable phone with you as you move about your house could make it easier to call someone if you need assistance. An emergency response system, which lets you push a button on a special necklace or bracelet to call for help, is another option.

Keep Your Bones Strong to Prevent Falls

Falls are a common reason for trips to the emergency room and for hospital stays among older adults. Many of these hospital visits are for fall-related fractures. You can help prevent fractures by keeping your bones strong.

Having healthy bones won't prevent a fall, but if you fall, it might prevent breaking a hip or other bone, which may lead to a hospital or nursing home stay, disability, or even death. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D can help keep your bones strong. So can physical activity. Try to get at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity.

Other ways to maintain bone health include quitting smoking and limiting alcohol use, which can decrease bone mass and increase the chance of fractures. Also, try to maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight increases the risk of bone loss and broken bones.

Osteoporosis is a disease that makes bones weak and more likely to break. For people with osteoporosis, even a minor fall may be dangerous. Talk to your doctor about osteoporosis.

Learn how to fall-proof your home.

Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.

For More Information About Falls and Falls Prevention:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1-800-232-4636 (toll-free)
1-888-232-6348 (TTY/toll-free)

National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications

Rebuilding Together
1-800-473-4229 (toll-free)

National Falls Prevention Resource Center

The National Institute on Aging, part of NIH, leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute seeks to understand the nature of aging and the aging process, and diseases and conditions associated with growing older, in order to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, aging, and health, go to

Advocacy Groups

Shoreline Area Senior Network, (SASN) September 2017 Monthly Meeting: Date & Time: Wednesday September 27, 2017 from 8:00 am 9:30 pm Location: Branford Hills Health Care Center 189 Alps Road Branford, CT 06405

Shoreline Area Senior Network, (SASN)  September 2017 Monthly Meeting:

Date & Time:  Wednesday September 27, 2017 from 8:00 am 9:30 pm

Location:  Branford Hills Health Care Center                  

189 Alps Road

Branford, CT  06405

(203) 481-6221  





Kindred Healthcare




 Shoreline Aging in Place



Karen Sands, MCC, BCC


 Leading GeroFuturist, Amazon #1 best-selling author, firecracker speaker, game changer, and thought leader on the Longevity Economy, 40+ market, and Ageless Aging.   




As a Trailblazer in the Senior Space, What Keeps You Up At Night?

Get ready for a cognitive jolt to your assumptions, opening the way to envisioning new alternative futures in the Senior Space for your organization, your community and for yourself as a more confident trailblazer.

You will have the opportunity to examine the hottest topics worrying leaders today about tomorrow's workforce, the shifting marketplace, and their evolving role.

Join Karen to kick-start a unique conversation on how to turn what keeps trailblazers like you up at night into assets for the Longevity Economy.

Insights gained will become the foundation for developing and implementing effective, innovative - yes, even visionary, new approaches to transform what keeps you up at night into new possibilities.


**You must RSVP so we can be sure to have enough breakfast items.  Please respond by clicking the RSVP Button below by no later than Monday, September 25, 2017.



 There will be a marketing table at each meeting.  Feel free to utilize the opportunity to place information, events, brochures, etc. on the table.  Everyone but Sponsors may place their information here.  After the meeting, please take your remaining brochures with you. 

Only Sponsors may place info on each person's seat as well as give a short talk 
(maximum 2 minutes) about their business.  

About: The Shoreline Area Senior Network, (SASN) meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month from 8 to 9:30 AM at various locations throughout the Connecticut Shoreline. This Network is a venue for professionals who work with older adults.  The main focus of the group is to educate professionals with the latest information and updated legislation to better serve the older adult population. However, sharing of referrals and networking with trusted individuals are also a primary focus of the Shoreline Area Senior Network.

To be added to our mailing list, please send an email to


Cindy Cartier, Cartier & Bower

Jennifer Jones, Kindred

Molly Standley, VNA Community Healthcare

Marcia Turner,  YEA LLC

Patti Urban, Your End of Life Doula

Advocacy Groups
New Haven
start time: 
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 8:00am

This Gift Voucher Might Just Get You A Kidney Healthcare Blog by Fran Kritz and Kaiser Health News 

Cover photo: Kathy DeGrandis of Long Beach, Calif., received a kidney transplant through a new voucher program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)


Seven-year-old Quinn Gerlach got a gift certificate from his grandpa a few years back — not for a toy, a book or a game. It was for a kidney.

Gerlach was born with a single kidney, instead of the usual two, and it doesn’t fully function. So, one day, he may need a transplant.

Quinn’s grandfather, retired Tulare County Superior Court judge Howard Broadman, 68, of Visalia, Calif., learned he has the right blood and tissue types to be a donor for Quinn. But Broadman feared he might die or be too sick to donate a kidney when it was needed.

The former judge tried to think creatively, as he had on the bench — where he was known for unconventional and sometimes highly controversial sentencing.

He came up with what might be called the delayed kidney swap: He gave his kidney three years ago to Kathy DeGrandis, a retired airport manager in her 50s, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. In exchange, Quinn was given a voucher that gives him priority to receive a live donor kidney, provided a match can be found when a transplant is necessary.

The idea caught on. Now about 30 hospitals around the country participate in this voucher program, administered by the National Kidney Registry. At least 21 kidneys have been donated by people in the U.S. in exchange for vouchers, according to the registry.

“If Quinn had needed the kidney right away, I was going to donate my kidney,” said Broadman. “But once he didn’t need it right away, I thought, why not pay it forward and maybe karma would come about.”

Still Waiting, But Worrying Less

More than 93,000 people await kidney transplants in the United States, and each year 4,500 people die before they can get one.

Most patients seeking a transplant join the long waiting list for kidneys from deceased donors. Some are able find a living person willing to donate a kidney. Live donor kidneys are most desirable — the organs last up to 12 years longer — but are less available.

Another limiting factor for a successful transplant is that the donor kidney must be a good “match,” carrying a compatible complement of genetic markers with the patient in need.

To address that problem, doctors more than a dozen years ago devised a process known as donation “chains.” If a friend or relative wanted to donate to a patient but was not a good match, he could donate to another kidney patient in the same predicament, with a willing but incompatible donor.

Each transplant patient in the chain must have a donor who matches someone who currently needs a kidney in the U.S. and is willing to donate to that stranger. Hospitals and transplant centers have matched up to 35 pairs in such chains.

Broadman, the Visalia grandfather, took that idea further, proposing that donors be able to give their organs in advance — essentially to save a person today so that a relative might be saved down the road.

“Sometimes [a patient] may be heading toward transplantation in the next few years, but it would be more convenient for a friend or family member to donate a kidney now,” said Dr. Jeffrey Veale, a transplant surgeon who initiated the voucher program at UCLA.

Maybe the donor is planning a pregnancy, travel or a new job or is worried about growing older — any of which could prevent a donation later, Veale said. Arranging the transaction early takes some — but not all — worry out of the situation.

Another possibility is for one compatible parent to directly donate a kidney to his or her child now while the other parent donates to a stranger for a voucher. That way, if the child’s first donated kidney fails — not uncommon — a second kidney might be obtained quickly.

Broadman’s idea was taken up by the National Kidney Registry, one of two registries in the U.S. that matches patients, through computer algorithms, with potential live donors. The registry works with participating hospitals such as UCLA, alerting them when a voucher holder matches a live donor in their system.

Experts and ethicists underscored that such surgeries can put donors at risk without benefiting their loved ones.

Christina Strong, an adjunct professor of health law at Rutgers in New Jersey who has worked extensively on health laws and policies for organ donation, says it has to be absolutely clear to everyone involved that having the donor give a kidney right now in no way guarantees that a compatible kidney will be found later for the intended recipient.

Contracts with donors contain a disclaimer to that effect.

UCLA officials say they have received dozens of inquiries from potential voucher donors, as well as from hospitals around the country, that want to set up voucher programs. Additional participating hospitals include those at UCSF, Georgetown, Emory and Cornell.

“We solve this problem one kidney at a time,” says Dr. Chris Freise, interim chief of the transplant division at UC-San Francisco Medical Center, which participates in the voucher program.

Freise and other kidney experts and advocates say the program also gives a boost to patients who don’t have a potential live donor or voucher. That’s because each time someone gets a live kidney, that almost always moves someone else up a notch on the deceased donor list.

Some researchers working on the holy grail of kidney transplantation, a bioengineered one, also are rooting for the success of voucher transplants.

“We’re a decade or more from being able to repair, restore or replace a kidney, so novel ideas like the voucher transplants are critical,” says Dr. Giuseppe Orlando, a transplant surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The voucher is earmarked and issued to a specific person, who is the only one who can use it, making it unlikely to be bought or sold. The recipient is required to provide U.S. government identification before any transplant can occur, and his or her blood and tissue types are checked to ensure they match what’s in the medical records.

‘Fully Engaged In The World’

Broadman’s grandson hasn’t had to use his voucher yet. Maybe he never will. But the retired judge has no regrets.

Months after his surgery, he met with the recipient, DeGrandis, at a barbecue the two families arranged.

“How has your life changed since the transplant?” he recalls asking DeGrandis.

She replied: “Where do you want me to start?”

DeGrandis had been diagnosed decades earlier with polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition causing the organs to fail over time. She remembers telling Broadman that she is healthier than she’s been in years, no longer “chained to dialysis,” that her singing voice came back. “And I feel fully engaged in the world around me rather than trying to struggle from moment to moment.”

At that point, Broadman said, his eyes welled up.

Sure, the recovery from surgery was painful, he tells would-be donors. Then he adds: “When you think of the downside, that is small, compared to the goodness.”


This KHN story also ran on It can be republished for free. See details link:

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

 Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.


To contact KHN columnists with a question or comment, click here:

For more KHN coverage of aging, and for more information on Kaiser Health News, please visit our web page at:

Advocacy Groups

Rule Changes For Medigap Supplemental Plans Leaves New Beneficiaries With Tough Choices Healthcare Blog by Kaiser Health News 


Medigap Plans F and C, which are quite popular among Medicare beneficiaries, will close to new enrollment in 2020. In other Medicare news, federal officials have proposed some changes in home health payment policies, and public health officials ponder a rise in sepsis cases among beneficiaries.

Chicago Tribune: Why Seniors Should Choose Wisely When Selecting Medigap Supplement Insurance
In 2020, people who are on Medicare and don't already have what's known as Plan F or Plan C Medigap insurance won't be able to buy it because the federal government will close those plans to new participants. That means that when people go onto Medicare at 65, or if they switch Medicare-related insurance during the next couple of years, they are going to have to be diligent about scrutinizing insurance possibilities before some of those doors start to close. (MarksJarvis, 9/8)

Article link:


Modern Healthcare: CMS' Proposed Home Health Payment Model Alarms Providers. Would It Boost Access For Medically Complex Patients?

The CMS has proposed the largest overhaul of Medicare home health payment in many years, out of concern that the current reimbursement system discourages providers from serving patients with clinically complex or chronic conditions. Critics say Medicare's system now gives home health providers incentives to select patients who need higher-paying therapy services, such as joint replacement, rather than those needing help with traumatic wounds or poorly controlled chronic conditions or who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. (Meyer, 9/8)

Aeticle link:


Modern Healthcare: Aggressive Diagnoses And Care Spark Big Rise In Medicare Sepsis Discharges

The number of Medicare inpatient discharges for sepsis has been on a steady rise, and in 2015 it beat out major joint replacements as the most common discharge for the first time. On first glance, the results are jarring considering how the federal government and providers have made concentrated efforts in recent years to curb sepsis. But patient safety experts claim that the rise likely stems from changes in clinical practice over the last 15 years to diagnosis more patients with infections as septic sooner so they can treat the infection quickly before it develops into severe sepsis and becomes life-threatening. (Castellucci, 9/7)

Article link:


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Link:

 Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

To contact KHN columnists with a question or comment, click here:

For more KHN coverage of aging, and for more information on Kaiser Health News, please visit our web page at:

Advocacy Groups
Washington DC

Register for this years Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut's Interagency Council!

About the Interagency Council:

The Interagency Council is part of the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut/AOASCC. The Council is a consortium of representatives from non-profit, for-profit and government agencies in the south central region of Connecticut that serve older adults and caregivers.  The mission of the Council is to bring together these providers for educational and networking opportunities.  The Interagency Council meets at noon at AOASCC on the third Thursday in October, December, February, April and June.  The M-Team meets on the alternate months.


The Council Registration/Sign Up Link is:


The Next Meeting of The Interagency Council is with the M-Team is on September 21, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. The meeting's location is at The Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut/AOASCC, Conference Room A, 1 Long Wharf Drive, New Haven, CT.


The M-Team/Multi-Disciplinary Team is a  subgroup of the council. The Multi-Disciplinary Team presents an opportunity for frontline staff to participate in case presentations about challenging cases, particularly cases with issues of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, hoarding, abandonment....all the difficult cases with few options.  


The M-Team Meeting Topic for September 21, 2017:

 ​A case will be presented involving a 72-year-old female on CHCPE with a primary diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Client’s contributing diagnoses include Osteoarthritis, s/p herniated disc lower back, s/p foot fracture and present lymphedema to left leg. CM will share ongoing, oftentimes recurring issues client faces as she is in denial of her own mental health issues which results in behavioral outbursts, non-compliance with appropriate medical treatment and multiple threats of eviction due to failed inspections secondary to client’s history of hoarding.

Presenter: Cynthia Sabota, Case Manager AOASCC 


  No RSVP is required.

All registered agencies will have a few moments in the spotlight to talk about the work of their organization.

If anyone has a case they would like to present or discuss at a future meeting, please contact Lindsey MacPherson or Mollie Gadarowski at 203-752-3040 

For more information on the The Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut/AOASCC please visit their web page at


lunch provided by

Advocacy Groups
New Haven
New Haven

Autumn weather is here in Connecticut, and so are the Fall Borrow My Glasses Classes!

REGISTER NOW to save your spot!

Each program has it's own registration process. 

Fall Schedule:

Working With Veterans with Dementia & PTSD
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm registration, refreshments & networking
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm program
Maplewood at Strawberry Hill
73 Strawberry Hill Avenue, East Norwalk, CT

Working With Veterans with Dementia & PTSD
Thursday, September 28, 2017
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm registration, refreshments & networking
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm program
Maplewood at Orange
245 Indian River Road, Orange, CT

Working With Veterans with Dementia & PTSD
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
8:00 am - 8:30 am registration, light breakfast & networking
8:30 am - 10:30 am program
Maplewood at Stony Hill
46 Stony Hill Road, Bethel, CT

For Professionals

2 Continuing Education Credits approved for the Veterans Services licensure requirement for social workers from NASW-CT      
To Register: 
Please call Debra Laudano, Regional Director at (203) 500-9197 to register for any of the 3 Maplewood programs

Living With Palliative Care
Excerpts & Educational Program From a New Documentary
based on the end of life experience of Joan Blumenfeld
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm dinner
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm program
Connecticut Geriatrics Society
Norwalk Inn & Conference Center 
99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT

For Professionals

1.5 Continuing Education Credits approved for social workers from NASW-CT         
To Register:
$35 Members or $50 Non-members CT Geriatrics Society
Pre-registration required with the CT Geriatrics Society

This event is possible through the generous support of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, 30 Milestone Road, Danbury, CT 06810


TEARS - Elder Abuse Conference
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Held at the Toyota Oakdale Theater
95 South Turnpike Road, Wallingford, CT
Sponsored by the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut

For Professionals & Consumers

To Register:
Event is free. Pre-registration is required with the Agency on Aging


Being Mortal - Film Screening & Discussion
Thursday, October 18, 2017
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Russell Mercier Senior Center
14 Stonecroft Road, Hebron, CT

Open to the General Public

To Register: Contact Mandy at (860) 228-1700
Event is free. Pre-registration is required.
Sponsored by AARP-CT & Borrow My Glasses

  If I See Something, Do I Have to Say or Do Something?
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
5:30 - 6:00 pm registration & refreshments
6:00 - 7:30 pm program
Artis Senior Living
814 East Main Street, Branford, CT

For Consumers

To Register: 
Please call (203) 544-7287 or email Sharelle Thornton at


Being Mortal - Film Screening & Discussion
Thursday, October 26, 2017
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Jewish Federation of Western CT 
444 Main Street North, Southbury, CT

Open to the General Public

To Register: 
Contact the Jewish Federation: ​(203) 267-3177 x340 or
Event is free. Pre-registration is required.
Sponsored by AARP-CT & Borrow My Glasses

Each program has its own registration process.
For more information, visit
To bring one of these or another  training program to your organization, email me at

Donna B. Fedus, M.A.
Gerontologist & Founder
Borrow My Glasses
Aging & Caregiving From A New Perspective

Advocacy Groups

The Secret To Chronic Happiness As You Age Healthcare Blog Credited to Bruce Horovitz and Kaiser Health News

Cover photo: Anne McKinley battles a host of health issues and, four years ago, lost her husband after 59 years of marriage. Yet she remains positive, active and thrives on time spent with family and friends. Baking and eating cookies with her grandchildren is a highlight, she says. (Courtesy of Carol McKinley)


By all rights, Fletcher Hall should not be happy.

At 76, the retired trade association manager has endured three heart attacks and eight heart bypass operations. He’s had four stents and a balloon inserted in his heart. He has diabetes, glaucoma, osteoarthritis in both knees and diabetic neuropathy in both legs. He can’t drive. He can’t travel much. He can’t see very well. And his heart condition severely limits his ability to exercise. On a good day, he can walk about 10 yards before needing to rest.

Yet the Brooklandville, Md., resident insists he’s a genuinely happy guy — in part, because he appreciates what he can do. “There’s no question that as age impinges on your life, you do have ‘black dog’ days,” said Hall. “I fight aging every day. But I never, ever give up. You have to work at keeping happy.”

At 76, Fletcher Hall has a variety of medical conditions that dictate what he cannot do in life, yet he’s focused on what he can do. “You have to work at keeping happy,” he says. (Courtesy of Fletcher Hall)

Hall focuses on the things that bring him joy: writing and listening to music and audiobooks. By juggling those pastimes throughout the day — every day — he ultimately feels a sense of contentment. “Every one of those things requires that I use my mind — which is a good thing.”

Geriatric experts agree that Hall has pretty much figured out the right formula. “You have to be willing to accept your new reality — and move forward,” said Dr. Susan Lehmann, director of the geriatric psychiatry day program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Aim to have the best life you can at where you are right now.”

Living with chronic disease often complicates life. The majority of adults 65 and over have multiple chronic conditions that contribute to frailty and disability, according to a 2013-14 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of chronic conditions among people 65 and over has increased over time, too. The percentage of people reporting hypertension, asthma, cancer and diabetes was higher in 201314 than in 1997-98, reports the CDC.

This KHN story also ran in USA Today.

Chronic conditions can have a devastating impact on both men and women, according to the CDC report. About 57 percent of women and 55 percent of men age 65 and up reported hypertension. Another 54 percent of women and 43 percent of men reported arthritis. And a full 35 percent of men and 25 percent of women reported dealing with heart disease. At the same time, older women were more likely to report clinically relevant depressive symptoms than were older men. In 2014, 15 percent of women 65 and older reported depressive symptoms, compared with 10 percent of men.

Chronic pain, in fact, more frequently leads to depression than does anxiety, said Dr. Kathleen Franco, associate dean at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. That depression then leads to additional pain and suffering, she said. “So you have an emotional and physical component.”

That’s why Hall clings dearly to his greatest passion: writing. When he retired at 65, his original plan was to travel with his wife, Tracey. His physical limitations curbed those goals, so he circled back to what has brought him the most happiness. He stays engaged in daily news by writing for two blogs — including one at-large column in which he espouses what he calls his “compassionate conservative” values.

12 Tips For Older Adults To Stay Happy

  1. Accept your reality and move forward from there.
  2. Don’t compare how you feel now to when you were younger.
  3. Focus on maximizing what you can do, not what you can’t.
  4. Prioritize the things that are truly important to you.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  6. Plan your day around maximizing your energy.
  7. Stay connected with friends and family.
  8. Be proactive and advocate for your own health care.
  9. Continue to exercise — even while seated.
  10. Be grateful for the small things.
  11. Have a purpose in your life.
  12. Find a way — even a small way — to help others.

Hall also adores reading, even though glaucoma has made it all but impossible. Not one to give up, he uses his Amazon Echo smart speaker to order audiobooks. He loves sitting on his balcony in the sunshine and listening to books like The Guns of August. Similarly, he enjoys streaming both classical and country music, especially the Oak Ridge Boys and the country rock group Alabama.

Hall also has learned to use Alexa, the Echo’s built-in digital assistant, to help with seemingly simple tasks that are difficult with poor eyesight. To tell time, he simply asks Alexa.

Beyond that, he avoids getting trapped in any frustration loops, such as trying to troubleshoot computer issues. During a recent technological tussle, he simply shut down the machine and turned on PBS and Charlie Rose. “Watching that show keeps my mind active,” he said. After taking time to de-stress, he was able to solve the tech issue.

Hall finds some excuse to get out of his house every day. Sometimes he runs an errand. Or he’ll meet a friend for lunch. As a bird lover, he might just sit in a park listening to birds singing. “If I can combine a pleasant venue with the sound of bird symphonies, I’m a happy camper,” he said.

This is Hall’s version of what some experts call “mindfulness.” Mindfulness, which often involves deep, slow breathing that’s aimed at lowering your heart rate and calming you down, can be highly effective on older, ailing people, said Franco. “It’s simple. It doesn’t cost anything. You can do it and no one even knows you’re doing it.”

One other thing often works like magic: helping others. “Once you start giving to others, you tend not to get stuck in your own aches and pains,” said Franco.

Four years ago, Anne McKinley’s husband of 59 years, Cameron, died. This is one of the last photos of them together, sitting in the back seat of a car on the way to view aspen trees in Colorado. (Courtesy of Carol McKinley)

Anne McKinley knows this firsthand. Even at 85, she still volunteers for an aging advocacy group and sits on its board of directors.

McKinley copes with the debilitating effects of lifelong scoliosis. She, too, battles glaucoma, and her visual perception difficulties affect her balance. She’s had both knees replaced and more recently needed emergency surgery for an infection she contracted in the hospital following parathyroid surgery, which also affected her vocal cords.

The Evergreen, Colo., resident said that keeping a very positive attitude — and constantly reaching out to family and friends — keeps her content.

“Feeling like I have control of my life is very important,” she said. “The key is not to feel rushed. I can accomplish one thing in a day and feel good about it.”

It’s been a tough road since her husband, Cameron, died four years ago after 59 years of marriage. But with her master’s degree in social work and experience as a social worker, she knew how to utilize social services for older people in her community. That includes one service that performs housekeeping and other chores for a modest fee.

McKinley still visits family in Florida — though she must use a cane or walker to get around. Her grandchildren frequently come to visit, “and we feast whenever they do,” she added, typically on the cookies and pies she loves to bake. Above all, she said, she’s always getting out of the house. She gets her hair cut every week. “It’s my best remaining feature,” she said.

Then, there’s her Siamese cat, Frankie, who joins McKinley every evening at 6 p.m. to watch the evening news while McKinley makes herself a snack and a martini. “My favorite part is the olives,” she said.

And, yes, she expresses how particularly grateful she is for what she has — including a home with a 20-foot-high ceiling on an 18-acre site, where she can look out any window and see the surrounding beauty.

The real key to happiness at every age and stage — particularly old age — is not material things, but gratitude for life’s simple blessings, like laughter among friends or watching a sunset with a loved one, said Lehmann, the Johns Hopkins doctor. “It’s the small things in life that end up mattering most of all.”

KHN’s coverage related to aging & improving care of older adults is supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation and its coverage of aging and long-term care issues is supported by The SCAN Foundation.

 Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

For more KHN coverage of aging, and for more information on Kaiser Health News, please visit our web page at:

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New Haven Area Senior Network Monthly Meeting on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @ 8:00 AM. Located at Elim Park 140 Cook Hill Road, Cheshire CT

New Haven Area Senior Network/NHASN Monthly Meeting on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @ 8:00 AM.

Location/Host: Elim Park 140 Cook Hill Road, Cheshire CT


Please park in any "visitor spots" or the "reserved spots" between 140-150 Cook Hill Road.


Co-Host: West Haven Medical

Speaker: Attorney Michael Mackniak

"Fundamentals of Care Coordination & Interrelated Service Systems"


 The goal of this presentation is to educate caregivers, guardians, family members etc about complex systems of care and inspire them to take control of their course of treatment to ensure high quality care. 


Please RSVP for an accurate count on seating and food:


For more information on Elim Park visit their web page at:

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start time: 
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 8:00am

Soul Purpose: Seniors With Strong Reasons To Live Often Live Stronger Healthcare Blog by Judith Graham and Kaiser Health News  

Cover photo: “I think people can get a sense of purpose from very simple things: from taking care of a pet, working in the garden or being kind to a neighbor,” says Patricia Boyle, a researcher and professor of behavioral sciences at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. (RooM/Getty Images)​


After making it through the maelstrom of middle age, many adults find themselves approaching older age wondering “what will give purpose to my life?” now that the kids have flown the nest and retirement is in the cards.

How they answer the question can have significant implications for their health.

Over the past two decades, dozens of studies have shown that seniors with a sense of purpose in life are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, disabilities, heart attacks or strokes, and more likely to live longer than people without this kind of underlying motivation.

Now, a new report in JAMA Psychiatry adds to this body of evidence by showing that older adults with a solid sense of purpose tend to retain strong hand grips and walking speeds — key indicators of how rapidly people are aging.

Why would a psychological construct (“I feel that I have goals and something to live for”have this kind of impact? Seniors with a sense of purpose may be more physically active and take better care of their health, some research suggests. Also, they may be less susceptible to stress, which can fuel dangerous inflammation.

“Purposeful individuals tend to be less reactive to stressors and more engaged, generally, in their daily lives, which can promote cognitive and physical health,” said Patrick Hill, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis who wasn’t associated with the study.

But what is purpose, really? And how can it be cultivated?

Anne Newman, a 69-year-old who splits her time between Hartsdale, north of New York City, and Delray Beach, Fla., said she’s been asking herself this “on a minute-by-minute basis” since closing her psychotherapy practice late last year.

Building and maintaining a career became a primary driver in her life after Newman raised two daughters and went back to work at age 48. As a therapist, “I really loved helping people make changes in their lives that put them in a different, better position,” she said.

Things became difficult when Newman’s husband, Joseph, moved to Florida and she started commuting back and forth from New York. Over time, the travel took a toll, and Newman decided she didn’t want a long-distance marriage. So, she began winding down her practice and thinking about her next chapter.

Experts advise that people seeking a sense of purpose consider spending more time on activities they enjoy or using work skills in a new way. Newman loves drawing and photography. She has investigated work and volunteer opportunities in Florida, but nothing has grabbed her just yet.

“Not knowing what’s going to take the place of work in my life — it feels horrible, like I’m floundering,” she admitted, in a phone interview.

I didn’t ask myself did I have a larger purpose in life — I asked myself what gives meaning to my life.

Barry Dym

Many people go through a period of trial and error after retirement and don’t find what they’re looking for right away, said Dr. Dilip Jeste, senior associate dean for healthy aging and senior care at the University of California-San Diego. “This doesn’t happen overnight.”

“People don’t like to talk about their discomfort because they think it’s unusual. And yet, everybody thinks about this existential question at this time of life: ‘What are we here for?’” he noted.

Newman’s focus has been on getting “involved in something other than personal satisfaction — something larger than myself.” But that may be overreaching.

“I think people can get a sense of purpose from very simple things: from taking care of a pet, working in the garden or being kind to a neighbor,” said Patricia Boyle, a leading researcher in this field and professor of behavioral sciences at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“Even small goals can help motivate someone to keep going,” she continued. “Purpose can involve a larger goal, but it’s not a requirement.”

Older adults often discover a sense of purpose from taking care of grandchildren, volunteering, becoming involved in community service work or religion, she said. “A purpose in life can arise from learning a new thing, accomplishing a new goal, working together with other people or making new social connections when others are lost,” she said.

Tara Gruenewald’s research highlights how important it is for older adults to feel they play a valuable role in the life of others.

“I think what we often lose as we age into older adulthood is not a desire to contribute meaningfully to others but the opportunity to do so,” said Gruenewald, chair of the department of psychology at California’s Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences at Chapman University. Her research has found that people who perceive themselves as being useful had a stronger feeling of well-being and were less likely to become disabled and die than those who didn’t see themselves this way.

“In midlife, we contribute to others partly because it’s demanded of us in work and in our social relationships,” Gruenewald said. “As we grow older, we have to seek out opportunities to contribute and give to others.”

Some researchers try to tease out distinctions between having a sense of purpose and finding meaning in life; others don’t. “Practically, I think there’s a lot of overlap,” Boyle said.

After Barry Dym, 75, retired a year ago from a long career as an organizational consultant and a marriage and family therapist, he said, “I didn’t ask myself did I have a larger purpose in life — I asked myself what gives meaning to my life.”

Answering that question wasn’t difficult; certain themes had defined choices he’d made throughout his life. “What gives meaning to me is helping people. Trying to have an impact. Working with people very closely and helping them become much better at what they do,” Dym said in a phone conversation from his home in Lexington, Mass.

In retirement, he’s carrying that forward by mentoring several people with whom he has a professional and personal relationship, bringing together groups of people to talk about aging, and starting a blog. Recently, he said, he wrote about discovering that he feels freer now to “explore who I am, where I came from and what meaning things have to me than at any other point of my life.”

And therein lies a dilemma. “I feel of two minds about purpose in older age,” Dym said. “In some ways, I’d like to just shuck off that sense of having to do something to be a good person, and just relax. And in other ways, I feel deeply fulfilled by the things I do.”

We’re eager to hear from readers about questions you’d like answered, problems you’ve been having with your care and advice you need in dealing with the health care system. Visit to submit your requests or tips.

KHN’s coverage related to aging & improving care of older adults is supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation.

 Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.



Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system.

To contact Judith Graham with a question or comment use following link:

For more KHN coverage of aging, and for more information on Kaiser Health News, please visit our web page at:

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New York

End-of-Life Care for People with Dementia

Senior Help Desk healthcare Blog By National Institutes of Health . Nation Institute of Aging

As they reach the end of life, people suffering from dementia can present special challenges for caregivers. People can live with diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s dementia for years, so it can be hard to think of these as terminal diseases. But, they do cause death

.sad dog resting head on an empty chair

Hard Decisions

Dementia causes the gradual loss of thinking, remembering, and reasoning abilities, making it difficult for those who want to provide supportive care at the end of life to know what is needed. Because people with advanced dementia can no longer communicate clearly, they cannot share their concerns. Is Uncle Bert refusing food because he’s not hungry or because he’s confused? Why does Grandma Sakura seem agitated? Is she in pain and needs medication to relieve it, but can’t tell you?

As these conditions progress, caregivers may find it hard to provide emotional or spiritual comfort. How can you let Grandpa know how much his life has meant to you? How do you make peace with your mother if she no longer knows who you are? Someone who has severe memory loss might not take spiritual comfort from sharing family memories or understand when others express what an important part of their life this person has been. Palliative care or hospice can be helpful in many ways to families of people with dementia.

Sensory connections—targeting someone’s senses, like hearing, touch, or sight—can bring comfort. Being touched or massaged can be soothing. Listening to music, white noise, or sounds from nature seem to relax some people and lessen their agitation.

When a dementia like Alzheimer’s disease is first diagnosed, if everyone understands that there is no cure, then plans for the end of life can be made before thinking and speaking abilities fail and the person with Alzheimer’s can no longer legally complete documents like advance directives.

Learn more about legal and financial planning for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

End-of-life care decisions are more complicated for caregivers if the dying person has not expressed the kind of care he or she would prefer. Someone newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease might not be able to imagine the later stages of the disease.

Alma and Silvia’s Story

Alma had been forgetful for years, but even after her family knew that Alzheimer’s disease was the cause of her forgetfulness,they never talked about what the future would bring. As time passed and the disease eroded Alma’s memory and ability to think and speak, she became less and less able to share her concerns and wishes with those close to her.

This made it hard for her daughter Silvia to know what Alma needed or wanted. When the doctors asked about feeding tubes or antibiotics to treat pneumonia, Silvia didn’t know how to best reflect her mother’s wishes. Her decisions had to be based on what she knew about her mom’s values, rather than on what Alma actually said she wanted.

Weighing Care Choices

Quality of life is an important issue when making healthcare decisions for people with dementia. For example, medicines are available that may delay or keep symptoms from becoming worse for a little while. Medicines also may help control some behavioral symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

However, some caregivers might not want drugs prescribed for people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. They may believe that the person’s quality of life is already so poor that the medicine is unlikely to make a difference. If the drug has serious side effects, they may be even more likely to decide against it.

When making care decisions for someone else near the end of life, consider the goals of care and weigh the benefits, risks, and side effects of the treatment. You may have to make a treatment decision based on the person’s comfort at one end of the spectrum and extending life or maintaining abilities for a little longer at the other.

With dementia, a person’s body may continue to be physically healthy while his or her thinking and memory are deteriorating. This means that caregivers and family members may be faced with very difficult decisions about how treatments that maintain physical health, such as installing a pacemaker, fit within the care goals.

Dementia’s Unpredictable Progression

Dementia often progresses slowly and unpredictably. Experts suggest that signs of the final stage of Alzheimer’s diseaseinclude some of the following:

  • Being unable to move around on one’s own
  • Being unable to speak or make oneself understood
  • Needing help with most, if not all, daily activities, such as eating and self-care
  • Eating problems such as difficulty swallowing

Because of their unique experience with what happens at the end of life, hospice and palliative care experts might be able to help identify when someone in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease is in the last days or weeks of life.

Caregiver Support

Caring for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias at home can be demanding and stressful for the family caregiver. Depression is a problem for some family caregivers, as is fatigue, because many feel they are always on call. Family caregivers may have to cut back on work hours or leave work altogether because of their caregiving responsibilities.

Many family members taking care of a person with advanced dementia at home feel relief when death happens—for themselves and for the person who died. It is important to realize such feelings are normal. Hospice—whether used at home or in a facility (such as a nursing home)—gives family caregivers needed support near the end of life, as well as help with their grief, both before and after their family member dies.

Caregivers, ask for help when you need it. Learn about respite care.

Questions to Ask About End-of-Life Care for a Person with Dementia

You will want to understand how the available medical options presented by the healthcare team fit into your family’s particular needs. You might want to ask questions such as:

  • How will the approach the doctor is suggesting affect your relative’s quality of life? Will it make a difference in comfort and well-being?
  • If considering home hospice for your relative with dementia, what will be needed to care for him or her? Does the facility have special experience with people with dementia?
  • What can I expect as the disease gets worse?

Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.

For More Information About Dementia and End-of-Life Care

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
1-800-438-4380 (toll-free)
The National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.

Alzheimer's Association
1-800-272-3900 (toll-free, 24/7) 
1-866-403-3073 (TTY/toll-free)

Alzheimer's Foundation of America
1-866-232-8484 (toll-free)

Eldercare Locator
1-800-677-1116 (toll-free)

For more information on The National Institutes of Health . Nation Institute of Aging please visit their web page at:


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