Advocacy Groups

It’s so chilly out there! Definitely soup season... Be sure to get your soup at Bobette’s Restaurant this Saturday November 18, 207 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Located at 93 Boston Post Road Milford, CT. Proceeds will benefit the Beth-El Center to help provide food, shelter, and services to those in need in our community.

It’s so chilly out there! Definitely soup season... Be sure to get your soup at Bobette’s  Restaurant this Saturday November 18, 207 from 11:00 am to  4:00 pm. Located at 93 Boston Post Road Milford, CT.  Proceeds will benefit the Beth-El Center to help provide food, shelter, and services to those in need in our community.

About Beth-El Center

The Beth-El Center is a 501c3, nonprofit organization that has two programs: a 34 bed homeless shelter and a food service program. The Center also provides case management services to the singles and families who reside in the supportive housing development located at 85 New Haven Avenue also known as Liberty Pointe.

Beth-El works from a strength-based and solution-oriented perspective to empower the homeless and help them achieve independence and self-sufficiency. Our clients range from veterans and elderly to people working through unemployment, illness, catastrophic events, addictions and mental health issues.

The Center's shelter program focuses on supporting residents while they work to achieve individualized goals such as obtaining housing, employment, education and/or training. We work with resident to help them establish connections to community-based support services that will lead to greater success in meeting life's daily challenges.

Our shelter provides the stability necessary to achieve established goals in a home-like environment along with compassionate staff support. The shelter provides dormitory-style living for single men and women, and individual bedrooms with community-style living for families. Our supportive housing case manager applies our strength-based and solution-oriented approach when working with residents in order to assist them with access to the resources necessary to maintain their housing.

Beth-El remains committed to alleviating hunger throughout the Milford area. The Center's food service programs consist of our soup kitchen which offers nutritious lunches Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to residents and all community members in need as well as the Meals to Go program, which provides a bag meal between 5 and 6 p.m. on weekday evenings. Food programs are also supported by community organizations and faith communities that provide meals throughout the week on a volunteer basis.

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Advocacy Groups
start time: 
Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 11:00am

Reading Food Labels for a Healthy Diet

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

Reading labels can help you make good food choices. Processed and packaged foods and drinks—you’ll find them in cans, boxes, bottles, jars, and bags—have a lot of nutrition and food safety information on their labels or packaging. Look for these things on the food label.

Product Dates

You might see one of three types of product dates on some foods you buy:

  • "Sell by" tells how long the store can sell foods like meat, poultry, eggs, or milk products—buy it before this date
  • "Use by" tells how long the food will be at peak quality—if you buy or use it after that date, some foods might not be safe any longer
  • "Best if used by" (or "best if used before") tells how long the food has the best flavor or quality—it is not a purchase or safety date

Ingredients List

This tells you everything that a processed food contains. Did you know that the items are presented from largest to smallest ingredient? That is, there is more of the first ingredient listed on the label than any other ingredient. The last ingredient on the list is found in the smallest amount.

Nutrition Facts Label

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a Nutrition Facts label on all processed food. You can find nutrition information for fresh vegetables and fruits. Or you can call the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Information Center at 1-301-504-5414.

The Nutrition Facts label is all white with black letters. You can see a sample label at right, along with a few key things to know about it. Nutrition Label with items in captions highlighted

To learn more about the information on this label, go to FDA's Labeling and Nutrition.

Note: The FDA recently announced updates to the Nutrition Facts label to reflect the latest scientific information linking diet and chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease. Updates include a new design that highlights key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.

At the top, you will find the FDA definition of a serving of that food or drink and the number of servings in the container. The rest of the nutrition information on the label is for one serving, not for the whole package or bottle. If a can or package holds two servings and you eat the whole thing, you have eaten double all the numbers on the Nutrition Facts label—twice the calories, twice the fat, twice the protein, and so on.

Daily Value (DV) is how much of each nutrient most people need each day. The %DV says what part (as a percent) of the total daily recommendation for a nutrient is in a serving. The Daily Value is based on eating 2,000 calories each day, so if you are eating fewer calories and eat a serving of this food, your %DV will be higher than you see on the label.

Here's a tip

If a food has 5% of the Daily Value or less, it is low in that nutrient. If it has 20% or more, it is high in that nutrient. Low or high can be either good or bad—it depends on whether you need more of a nutrient (like fiber), or less (like fat).

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

For More Information About Food Labels

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
1-888-463-6332 (toll-free)

About the National Institute on Aging: The NIA leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute's broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, aging, and health, go to

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

National Institute on Aging
Building 31, Room 5C27
31 Center Drive, MSC 2292
Bethesda, MD 20892 
Phone: 1-800-222-2225
TTY: 1-800-222-4225
Phones are answered Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Eastern time)

Advocacy Groups

The Connecticut Epilepsy Advocate is working with the United Way of Milford with a Christmas Food Drive for people in Milford, CT. It will take place from Monday, December 4, 2017 through Friday December 15, 2017.

The Connecticut Epilepsy Advocate is working with the United Way of Milford with a Christmas Food Drive for people in Milford. It will take place from Monday, December 4, 2017 through Friday December 15, 2017. You can drop off any non-perishable or canned food from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday at either The United Way of Milford on 20 Evergreen Avenue Milford, CT which is just off of New Haven Avenue or at The Milford Senior Center on 9 Jepson Drive which is just off of High Street Milford, CT. For more information please call the United Way of Milford (203) 874-6791

For more information visit:

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Zip code: 
New Haven

2017 Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter's Annual Dementia Education Conference on Thursday April 19, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville, CT​

The Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter's  21st Annual Dementia Education Conference on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville, CT

Conference time: TBA

For more information visit:

2018 Keynote Speaker: KENNETH J. DOKA, PhD

Dr. Kenneth J. Doka is a Professor of Gerontology at the Graduate School of The College of New Rochelle and Senior Consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America. A prolific author, Dr. Doka’s books include When Grief Is Complicated, Grief Is a Journey: Finding your Pathway through Loss, Managing Conflict, Finding Meaning, The Longest Loss: Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, Helping Adolescents Cope with Loss, Journeys with Grief: A Collection of Articles about Love, Life, and Loss, Improving Care for Veterans Facing Illness and Death, Ethics and End-of-Life Care, Beyond Kübler-Ross: New Perspectives on Death, Dying, and Grief, Spirituality and End-of-Life Care, Grieving beyond Gender: Understanding the Ways Men and Woman Mourn; Counseling Individuals with Life-Threatening Illness; Cancer and End-of-Life Care; Diversity and End-of-Life Care; Living with Grief: Children and Adolescents, Living with Grief: Before and After Death, Death, Dying and Bereavement: Major Themes in Health and Social Welfare (a 4 Volume edited work), Pain Management at the End-of-Life: Bridging the Gap between Knowledge and Practice, Living with Grief: Ethical Dilemmas at the End of Life, Living with Grief: Alzheimer’s Disease, Living with Grief: Coping with Public Tragedy; Men Don’t Cry, Women Do: Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief; Living with Grief: Loss in Later Life, Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing Hidden Sorrow: Living with Life Threatening Illness; Children Mourning, Mourning Children; Death and Spirituality; Living with Grief: After Sudden Loss; Living with Grief: When Illness is Prolonged; Living with Grief: Who We Are, How We Grieve; Living with Grief: At Work, School and Worship; Living with Grief: Children, Adolescents and Loss; Caregiving and Loss: Family Needs, Professional Responses; AIDS, Fear and Society; Aging and Developmental Disabilities; and Disenfranchised Grief: New Directions, Challenges, and Strategies for Practice. In addition to these books, he has published over 100 articles and book chapters. Dr. Doka is editor of both Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying and Journeys: A Newsletter to Help in Bereavement. He has an ongoing blog for Psychology Today entitled Good Mourning.

Dr. Doka was elected President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling in 1993. In 1995, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Work Group on Dying, Death and Bereavement and served as chair from 1997-1999. The Association for Death Education and Counseling presented him with an Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Death Education in 1998 and Significant Contributions to the Field of Thanatology in 2014. In 2000 Scott and White presented him an award for Outstanding Contributions to Thanatology and Hospice. His Alma Mater Concordia College presented him with their first Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is a recipient of the Caring Hands Award as well as the Dr. Robert Fulton CDEB Founder’s Award. In 2006, Dr. Doka was grandfathered in as a Mental Health Counselor under NY State’s first licensure of counselors.

Dr. Doka has keynoted conferences throughout North America as well as Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He participates in the annual Hospice Foundation of America Teleconference and has appeared on CNN and Nightline. In addition he has served as a consultant to medical, nursing, funeral service and hospice organizations as well as businesses and educational and social service agencies. Dr. Doka is an ordained Lutheran minister.

Web Page: 

About The Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter:

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 72,000 people in Connecticut. The Alzheimer‘s Association provides services to those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias; advocates for policy change and research funding; and advances research toward prevention, treatment and a cure. The Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter’s main office is in Southington, with regional offices throughout the state in Hamden, New Milford, Norwich, and Norwalk. To learn more, contact the Connecticut Chapter at 860-828-2828 or visit our website

Toll-free Helpline: A 24/7 Helpline service provides people with memory loss, caregivers, healthcare professionals and the public information, referrals, and emotional support: 1-800-272-3900

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Advocacy Groups

Social Security Disability Claim's Compassionate Allowances Program: Fast-Track Help to Those Who Need It Most

Senior Help Desk Healthcare Blog by Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications Social Security Administration

The Social security Administration is committed to processing disability claims as quickly as possible in all cases, but our initial claims process typically takes three to four months. If you suffer from a serious medical condition that prevents you from working, time is of the essence when it comes to receiving a decision on your disability application.

In some cases, we’re able to expedite the application process through our Compassionate Allowances program. Social Security uses Compassionate Allowances to identify people whose medical condition is so severe that they obviously meet our disability standards. Under the Social Security Act, we consider you disabled if you can’t work due to a severe medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, or result in death.

Many of the claims in our Compassionate Allowances Program are approved based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone; for example, pancreatic cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and acute leukemia. Acting Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill said it best: “Social Security is committed — now and in the future – to continue to identify and fast-track diseases that are certain or near-certain to be approved for disability benefits.”

Today, almost 500,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this fast-track disability process, which has grown to include a total of 228 conditions. Recently, three new Compassionate Allowances conditions were added to the list: CACH — Vanishing White Matter Disease-Infantile and Childhood Onset Forms, Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy, and Kleefstra Syndrome.

Our Compassionate Allowances program speeds help to people with severe conditions. If you or someone you know has a severe disabling condition, don’t wait. Go to our Compassionate Allowances website for more information about the program, including a list of all the conditions. Link:

For more information on Social Security visit:


Advocacy Groups
Washington, DC

How Older Patients Can Dodge Pitfalls Entrenched In The Health Care System

​ Healthcare Blog by Judith Graham and Kaiser Health News 

Being old and sick in America frequently means a doctor won’t ask you about troublesome concerns you deal with day to day — difficulty walking, dizziness, a leaky bladder, sleep disturbances memory lapses, and more.

It means that if you’re hospitalized, you have a good chance of being treated by a physician you’ve never met and undergoing questionable tests and treatments that might end up compromising your health.

It means that if you subsequently seek rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility, you’ll encounter another medical team that doesn’t know you or understand your at-home circumstances. Typically, a doctor won’t see you very often. In her new book, “Old & Sick in America: The Journey Through the Health Care System,” Dr. Muriel Gillick, a professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Program in Aging at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, delves deeply into these concerns and why they’re widespread.

Her answer: a complex set of forces is responsible.  Some examples:

  • Medical training doesn’t make geriatric expertise a priority.
  • Care at bottom-line-oriented hospitals is driven by the availability of sophisticated technology.
  • Drug companies and medical device manufacturers want to see their products adopted widely and offer incentives to ensure this happens.
  • Medicare, the government’s influential health program for seniors, pays more for procedures than for the intensive counseling that older adults and caregivers need.

In an interview, Gillick offered thoughts about how older adults and their caregivers can navigate this treacherous terrain. Her remarks have been edited for clarity and length:

Q: What perils do older adults encounter as they travel through the health care system?

The journey usually begins in the doctor’s office, so let’s start there. In general, physicians tend to focus on different organ systems. The heart. The lungs. The kidneys. They don’t focus so much on conditions that cross various organ systems, so-called geriatric syndromes. Things like falling, becoming confused or dealing with incontinence.

Q: What can people do about that?

Older people are often unwilling to bring these issues to the attention of their doctors. But if a family member is accompanying the patient, they should speak up.

In some practices, a nurse practitioner may be more attuned to these issues than the physician. So, it’s a good idea to learn who in the medical office you go to is good at what.

Another approach is to request a geriatric assessment or consultation that will bring these issues to the forefront.

Q: How do geriatric assessments work?

A geriatric assessment does two major things. It looks at the whole person. And it focuses on that person’s functioning — on what they can do. Can they dress themselves, walk, get to the bathroom? Can they cook meals? Take a bus downtown? Balance their checkbook?

An outpatient geriatric assessment is typically 1½ to two hours and conducted by an interdisciplinary team. A social worker or a mental health professional will ask about the person’s family situation. Are they living alone? Do they have support? A nurse practitioner will look at physical function. And a physician will go over medical concerns and examine the cognitive performance of the individual. Then, the team pulls all these pieces together to look at what’s going on with that person.

When someone starts being frail — having consistent difficulty doing things — an assessment of this kind is often a good idea.

Q: The next step you talk about in your book is the hospital.

One of the big perils in the hospital is technology, which is also its great virtue.  Technology can improve quality of life and be life-extending. But, sometimes, it creates endless complications.

An example are imaging tests such as CT scans. Physicians hardly think of this as an invasive test. But often one has to administer a dye to see what’s going on.  That dye can cause kidney failure in someone with impaired kidney function — something that’s common in older adults.

Sometimes there’s no real need for scans. An example would be an older person who becomes acutely confused in the hospital, which happens a lot. The appropriate response is to look at what’s causing the confusion and take away the offending agent. Often, that’s a medication that was started in the hospital. Or, it’s an infection. But the routine knee-jerk reaction is to do a CT scan to rule out the possibility of a stroke or bleeding in the brain.

For the most part, doctors want to do whatever it takes to diagnose a problem.  For younger patients, this may make sense. But for frail older patients with multiple medical conditions, a cascade of complications can result.

Q: What do you advise older patients and their families do?

When a test is proposed, ask the doctor “how important is it to pursue this diagnosis” and “how will the results change what you do?”

It’s also reasonable to say something along the lines of “every time I’ve had a test, it seems like I get into some kind of trouble. So, I really want to know, with this test or this treatment, what kind of trouble could I get into?”

Q: In your book, you talk about how a doctor-patient relationship can be sidelined when someone goes to the hospital. Instead, hospitalists provide care. How should people respond?

It’s really important to give that doctor a sense of the patient and who they are.  Say, your 88-year-old mother is in the hospital, and she’s become profoundly confused. The doctor doesn’t know what she was like a week or a month ago. He may assume she has dementia unless he hears otherwise. He won’t understand it might be delirium.

You or a caregiver want to come across as someone who can make it easier for the doctor to do his or her job — versus someone who’s a nuisance. You want to build trust, not annoyance.

Q: What about skilled nursing facilities?

These are settings that people go to after the hospital, to get rehabilitation.  Typically, the contact with doctors is minimal after an initial evaluation, though there’s a spectrum as to how much medical care there is.

A subset of older adults go to rehab just to get physical therapy after they’ve had a joint replacement or a hip fracture. They are really pretty stable, medically. If they get good physical therapy and nursing care, it’s probably OK that the doctor isn’t around much.

But there are also older patients who come to skilled nursing facilities, or SNFs, after having had one complication after another in the hospital. These patients can be very fragile, with many medical problems. They’re at risk of getting some new problem in the SNF — perhaps an infection — or an exacerbation of one of the problems they already have that hasn’t resolved.

Q: What do you recommend?

When you arrive at an SNF, it’s a new cast of characters. A physician whom you’ll see fleetingly. Nurses. Physical therapists. Aides. If you’re a caregiver, make sure you have face-to-face time with these staffers.

SNFs are required within the first week or so to have a care planning meeting with the team. They’re supposed to invite patients and their representatives to the meeting. This is a good place to say something along the lines of “My mother has been through a lot, and now that we’ve met you and seen what you can do, we’d like you to do your best to treat her here and not send her back to the hospital.”

You have to have trust to make that happen. The family has to trust the medical team. And the team has to trust that the family isn’t going to get upset and sue them. A meeting of this kind has the potential to allow everyone to figure out what’s important and what the plan will be going forward.

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 and improving care of older adults is supported in part 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.


Judith GrahamNAVIGATING AGING by Judith Graham

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:

Use Our Content

This KHN story can be republished for free. Details link:

Advocacy Groups

Shoreline Area Senior Network, (SASN) November 2017 Meeting on Wednesday November 22, 2017 from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. Located at Evergreen Woods 88 Notch Hill Road North Branford, CT 06471, Phone (203) 488-8000

Shoreline Area Senior Network, (SASN) November 2017 Meeting on Wednesday November 22, 2017 from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. Located at Evergreen Woods 88 Notch Hill Road  North Branford, CT 06471, Phone (203) 488-8000     

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please join us for our  monthly breakfast meeting of the Shoreline Area Senior Network!

RSVP Required  LINK:




88 Notch Hill Road
North Branford, CT 06471

Phone# (203) 488-8000     Web link:



VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice



 Apple Rehab Saybrook



     Susan Sokol, RN, Hospice Director 

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice 

 Patti Urban, CSA, Certified End of Life Doula  

Your End of Life Doula



November is National Hospice Month

 Learn everything there is to know about hospice -- what it is and what it isn't--and how doulas can assist. 

Advocacy Groups
North Branford
start time: 
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 8:00am

For Active Seniors, Co-housing Offers A Cozier Alternative To Downsizing Healthcare Blog by Sharon Jayson and Kaiser Health News 

Cover photo: Joan Stek, 90, works in her kitchen at Glacier Circle in Davis, Calif., last month. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

The 5-mile hikes, yoga classes and communal dinners are now routines for the residents at PDX Commons Cohousing in Portland, Ore.

These 39 individuals (about half partnered but largely strangers at first) started forging relationships well before they moved in late this summer to join a trend called cohousing.

“Here, you walk in and know every one of the people and you know them well,” said Steve Fisher, 63, a retired transportation planner who leads the weekly hikes. He and his wife moved from San Jose, Calif., to PDX Commons. “You greet them. They’re your friends. You do stuff with them. It’s the opposite of the isolation you sometimes get in the urban areas.”

It’s not a commune and there’s no sharing of income, though decision-making is by consensus. Cohousing bolsters sharing — a lawnmower, tools or an on-site laundromat, as well as guest quarters for out-of-town visitors. Homes are private, clustered near a common space where homeowners meet regularly to share meals and build community.

This story also ran in USA Today. It can be republished for free/details:

Of the nation’s 168 cohousing communities, almost all are intergenerational. But now, as increasing numbers of aging adults eschew the idea of institutional living, cohousing has become an attractive option.

In 2010, no U.S. cohousing communities were geared toward seniors. PDX Commons is now the nation’s 13th such community for the 55-and-older demographic. Two more are under construction and 13 others are in the early stages.

“Interest in cohousing has not only increased in general, but especially in the senior world,” said Karin Hoskin, executive director of Coho/US, the Cohousing Association of the United States,a nonprofit that supports cohousing communities nationwide.

While groups of friends may discuss growing old together on common ground, in most cohousing communities, the residents start as strangers who plan to help each other for the rest of their lives. Fisher said part of the home-buying process includes months of getting-to-know-you activities that precede the purchase.

“We are people who have the ability to live independently who intended to come together to form a community,” Fisher said of the group that ranges in age from 57 to 80. “We made it really clear: We’re not a care facility.”

Trudy Hussman (left) talks with Stacey Roberts. Hussman lived alone after her 2016 retirement until she moved to PDX Commons, a cohousing community aimed at people older than 55. (Courtesy of Lew Bowers)

Trudy Hussman, 68, bought into PDX Commons in June 2016 after retiring two years ago.

“I had been living alone for a long time and was feeling fairly isolated since I retired. I was used to it but not happy with it,” she said. “I started thinking that living in a community with other similar people would be an antidote.”

Clinical psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, of Chicago, agrees. Social support is critical to health and well-being, with countless studies showing those with social ties live longer, are physically healthier and happier and have less stress, she said.

“From a psychological and physical health perspective, it’s a pretty cool idea,” Lombardo said of cohousing. “It depends upon how open-minded and like-minded people are.”

Sidney Ewing, 82, and his wife of 54 years, Margaret Ewing, 77, had second thoughts about moving to the cohousing Oakcreek Community in Stillwater, Okla. The couple, both retired professors from Oklahoma State University, were among the group’s founders but dropped out.

“We decided the social load might be too heavy for us,” he said. “We are much more introverts.”

Two events changed their thinking. A neighbor fell down the stairs at home and was on the floor eight hours before being found. And, they got a notice from Oakcreek of an approaching deadline. They rejoined in time to get in on the planning and moved in five years ago when the community opened.

The nation’s first senior cohousing community opened in December 2005 with eight homes and a dozen individuals at Glacier Circle in Davis, Calif., about 15 miles from Sacramento. Seven of the initial group remain. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

Cohousing came to the U.S. after architects Charles Durrett, 62, and his wife, Kathryn McCamant, 57, learned about the concept in Denmark. The Nevada City, Calif., couple became advocates and have designed more than 55 such projects in the USA and consulted on others. Cohousing fulfills a variety of needs, from saving money through sharing to having ready companions. Cohousing developments include private homes (typically 20-40 such homes, with square footage reflecting a downsized lifestyle) clustered around shared space designed to promote frequent interaction. The legal entity is usually a condo or homeowners association with monthly fees, generally between $100-$350, Durrett said.

“Structurally, they’re infinitely different,” he said. “It needs to be designed from scratch for each group.”

At some senior projects, one of the guest rooms in the common house was designed for future caregivers to assist homeowners; however, the cohousing communities say they haven’t been used that way because anyone who might have needed such help hired someone privately. Cohousing communities don’t aim to be continuing-care or nursing facilities, homeowners say.

Sue Saum, 86, sits on her patio at Glacier Circle last month. Saum is one of the original group members there. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

“None of us moved in here with the idea of bathing or dressing our neighbors,” said Pat Darlington, 66, of Oakcreek. “There are certain things we’re committed to doing and certain things we’re not.”

The nation’s first senior cohousing community opened in December 2005 with eight homes and a dozen individuals at Glacier Circle in Davis, Calif., about 15 miles from Sacramento. Seven of the initial group remain.

“We’re declining and holding on and trying to be good to each other,” said Stan Dawson, 86, president of its homeowners association. “There’s no sense that anyone wants to move out to a nursing home yet, unless they absolutely have to.”

Dawson said the community connected as members of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Davis but didn’t really know each other.

Stan Dawson checks on neighbor Saum. “There’s no sense that anyone wants to move out to a nursing home yet, unless they absolutely have to,” Dawson says. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

“As time has gone on, we’re more of a family,” he said.

Their thrice-weekly communal dinner has expanded to Monday-Friday most weeks. From the beginning, they hired a cook, but now that the members are aging, Dawson said they’re also hiring out other needs.

Among the newer senior projects is Village Hearth Cohousing in Durham, N.C., where construction is to begin in April and move-in is scheduled for the summer of 2019. It’s an “LGBT and allies” community for age 55-plus, said Pat McAulay, 62.

“My wife and I actually started the group in 2015,” she said, based upon “dozens of beach trips with our friends — a bunch of women together in a house. We said ‘Let’s do this when we retire.’”

But none of those friends bought in, so they started looking for prospects in April 2015 and bought 15 acres in August of that year. So far, 11 households are sold.

Carolyn Langenkamp, 68, helps serve a family-style dinner. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

Alan O’Hashi, 64, who moved to senior cohousing at Silver Sage Village in Boulder, Colo., in 2010, offers newbies some advice.

“The best thing about cohousing are neighbors and the worst thing about cohousing are the neighbors,” he said. “You get to know people in ways you wouldn’t. You’re putting up with everyone’s positives and negatives and striking a balance between being in community and being an individual.”

Lew Bowers, 65, said PDX Commons is learning that. “In consensus,” he said, “you have to think about what’s good for the group.”

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.

To contact our columnists 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:

Advocacy Groups

What Are Palliative Care and Hospice Care?

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

Many Americans die in facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes receiving care that is not consistent with their wishes. To make sure that doesn’t happen, older people need to know what their end-of-life care options are and state their preferences to their caregivers in advance. For example, if an older person wants to die at home, receiving end-of-life care for pain and other symptoms, and makes this known to healthcare providers and family, it is less likely he or she will die in a hospital receiving unwanted treatments.

Learn more about advance care planning.

Caregivers have several factors to consider when choosing end-of-life care, including the older person’s desire to pursue life-extending or curative treatments, how long he or she has left to live, and the preferred setting for care.

Read more about where end-of-life care is given.

Palliative Care

Doctors can provide treatment to seriously ill patients in the hopes of a cure for as long as possible. These patients may also receive medical care for their symptoms, or palliative care, along with curative treatment.

Who can benefit from palliative care?

Palliative care is a resource for anyone living with a serious illness, such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. Palliative care can be helpful at any stage of illness and is best provided from the point of diagnosis.

In addition to improving quality of life and helping with symptoms, palliative care can help patients understand their choices for medical treatment. The organized services available through palliative care may be helpful to any older person having a lot of general discomfort and disability very late in life. Palliative care can be provided along with curative treatment and does not depend on prognosis.

A palliative care consultation team is a multidisciplinary team that works with the patient, family, and the patient’s other doctors to provide medical, social, emotional, and practical support. The team is made of palliative care specialist doctors and nurses, and includes others such as social workers, nutritionists, and chaplains.

Palliative care can be provided in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient palliative care clinics and certain other specialized clinics, or at home. Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance policies may cover palliative care. Veterans may be eligible for palliative care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Private health insurance might pay for some services. Health insurance providers can answer questions about what they will cover. Check to see if insurance will cover your particular situation.

Adriana’s Story

Adriana developed anemia while she was being treated for breast cancer. A palliative care specialist suggested she get a blood transfusion to manage the anemia and relieve some of the fatigue she was experiencing. Controlling her symptoms helped Adriana to continue her curative chemotherapy treatment. Treating her anemia is part of palliative care.

In palliative care, you do not have to give up treatment that might cure a serious illness. Palliative care can be provided along with curative treatment and may begin at the time of diagnosis. Over time, if the doctor or the palliative care team believes ongoing treatment is no longer helping, there are two possibilities. Palliative care could transition to hospice care if the doctor believes the person is likely to die within 6 months (see What does the hospice 6-month requirement mean?). Or, the palliative care team could continue to help with increasing emphasis on comfort care.


Increasingly, people are choosing hospice care at the end of life. Hospice can be provided in any setting—home, nursing home, assisted living facility, or inpatient hospital.

Tom’s Story

Tom, who retired from the U.S. Air Force, was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 70. As his disease progressed and breathing became more difficult, he wanted to explore experimental treatments to slow the disease. Through the palliative care provided by the Veterans Health Administration, Tom got treatment for his disease and was able to receive the care and emotional support he needed to cope with his health problems. The palliative care program also helped arrange for assistance around the house and other support for Tom’s wife, making it easier for her to care for him at home. When the experimental treatments were no longer helping, Tom enrolled in hospice. He died comfortably at home 3 months later.

At some point, it may not be possible to cure a serious illness, or a patient may choose not to undergo certain treatments. Hospice is designed for this situation. The patient beginning hospice care understands that his or her illness is not responding to medical attempts to cure it or to slow the disease’s progress.

Like palliative care, hospice provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family, but, in hospice, attempts to cure the person’s illness are stopped. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has 6 months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.

Hospice is an approach to care, so it is not tied to a specific place. It can be offered in two types of settings—at home or in a facility such as a nursing home, hospital, or even in a separate hospice center.

Read more about where end-of-life care can be provided.

Hospice care brings together a team of people with special skills—among them nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual advisors, and trained volunteers. Everyone works together with the person who is dying, the caregiver, and/or the family to provide the medical, emotional, and spiritual support needed.

A member of the hospice team visits regularly, and someone is always available by phone—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hospice may be covered by Medicare and other insurance companies; check to see if insurance will cover your particular situation.

Dolores’ Story

Choosing hospice does not have to be a permanent decision. For example, Dolores was 82 when she learned that her kidneys were failing. She thought that she had lived a long, good life and didn’t want to go through dialysis, so Dolores began hospice care. A week later, she learned that her granddaughter was pregnant. After talking with her husband, Dolores changed her mind about using hospice care and left to begin dialysis, hoping to one day hold her first great-grandchild. Shortly after the baby was born, the doctors said Dolores’ blood pressure was too low. At that point, she decided to re-enroll in hospice.

It is important to remember that stopping treatment aimed at curing an illness does not mean discontinuing all treatment. A good example is an older person with cancer. If the doctor determines that the cancer is not responding to chemotherapy and the patient chooses to enter into hospice care, then the chemotherapy will stop. Other medical care may continue as long as it is helpful. For example, if the person has high blood pressure, he or she will still get medicine for that.

Some Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice

Palliative CareHospice

Who can be treated?

Anyone with a serious illnessAnyone with a serious illness whom doctors think has only a short time to live, often less than 6 months

Will my symptoms be relieved?

Yes, as much as possibleYes, as much as possible

Can I continue to receive treatments to cure my illness?

Yes, if you wishNo, only symptom relief will be provided

Will Medicare pay?

It depends on your benefits and treatment planYes, it pays all hospice charges

Does private insurance pay?

It depends on the planIt depends on the plan

How long will I be cared for?

This depends on what care you need and your insurance planAs long as you meet the hospice's criteria of an illness with a life expectancy of months, not years

Where will I receive this care?

  • Home
  • Assisted living facility
  • Nursing home
  • Hospital
  • Home
  • Assisted living facility
  • Nursing home
  • Hospice facility
  • Hospital

Copyright © National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. All rights reserved. Reproduction and distribution by an organization or organized group without the written permission of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization are expressly forbidden.

Although hospice provides a lot of support, the day-to-day care of a person dying at home is provided by family and friends. The hospice team coaches family members on how to care for the dying person and even provides respite care when caregivers need a break. Respite care can be for as short as a few hours or for as long as several weeks.

Annie and Maria’s Story

Eighty-year-old Annie had advanced metastatic melanoma and asked for help through a hospice program so she could stay in the home she had lived in for more than 40 years. After Annie died, hospice continued to support her family, offering bereavement counseling for a year. Hospice services greatly reduced the stress of caregiving for Annie’s family. This was especially true for Annie’s wife, Maria, who weathered the sadness of her loss without her own health declining.

Families of people who received care through a hospice program are more satisfied with end-of-life care than are those of people who did not have hospice services. Also, hospice recipients are more likely to have their pain controlled and less likely to undergo tests or be given medicines they don’t need, compared with people who don’t use hospice care.

What does the hospice 6-month requirement mean?

Some people misinterpret their doctors’ suggestion to consider hospice. They think it means death is very near. But, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, people don’t begin hospice care soon enough to take full advantage of the help it offers. Perhaps they wait too long to begin hospice; they are too close to death. Or, some people are not eligible for hospice care soon enough to receive its full benefit.

In the United States, people enrolled in Medicare can receive hospice care if their healthcare provider thinks they have less than 6 months to live should the disease take its usual course. Doctors have a hard time predicting how long an older, sick person will live. Health often declines slowly, and some people might need a lot of help with daily living for more than 6 months before they die.

Talk to the doctor if you think a hospice program might be helpful. If he or she agrees, but thinks it is too soon for Medicare to cover the services, then you can investigate how to pay for the services that are needed.

What happens if someone under hospice care lives longer than 6 months? If the doctor continues to certify that that person is still close to dying, Medicare can continue to pay for hospice services. It is also possible to leave hospice care for a while and then later return if the healthcare provider still believes that the patient has less than 6 months to live.

For More Information About Hospice and Palliative Care

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
1-800-658-8898 (toll-free)

Center to Advance Palliative Care

Hospice Association of America

Hospice Foundation of America

Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Visiting Nurse Associations of America
1-888-866-8773 (toll-free)

Advocacy Groups

2017 Team Festival of Trees and Wesley Village Holiday Market on November 18, 2017 and November 19, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Located at Wesley Village 580 Long Hill Avenue Shelton, Connecticut 06484

2017 ‎Team Festival of Trees and Wesley Village Holiday Market on November 18, 2017 and November 19, 2017  from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Located at Wesley Village Shelton

580 Long Hill Avenue Shelton, Connecticut 06484

The 14th Annual TEAM Festival of Trees and Wesley Village Holiday Market will be held on Saturday and Sunday, November 18th and 19th from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at Wesley Village Senior Living Campus in Shelton at 580 Long Hill Avenue. 

The two days include activities and fun for the whole family, including the viewing of beautifully decorated themed trees and wreaths donated by area businesses, organizations, and individuals. Participants may buy raffle tickets for the chance to win any of the donated trees. All drawings will be held on Sunday, November 19th, at the close of the event. 

The event also features a Holiday Vendor Market, with nearly 50 vendors offering a variety of unique gifts and handmade crafts. A local photographer will be taking PHOTOS WITH SANTA from 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM both days. Throughout both days, there will also be a holiday bake sale and a variety of refreshments available from local food trucks.

We hope to see you there!

For more information contact Wesley Village at: Call (203) 225-2054

or visit:

Advocacy Groups
start time: 
Sunday, November 19, 2017 - 10:00am