Tag Archives: seniors

elder

Heat Increases Danger for Seniors Taking Prescriptions

A potentially deadly danger lurks in the medicine cabinets of local seniors this summer. Did you know that heat, when combined with certain medications, can seriously harm seniors? That’s why SYNERGY HomeCare, one of the nation’s largest non-medical in-home care franchises, with local offices in our area, recommends that families pay special attention to seniors that are taking any medications this summer. Considering the fact that some 80-86% of seniors suffer from a chronic condition or disease that requires medication, the summer heat can pose significant challenges!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Seniors are more prone to heat stroke and heat-related stress because their bodies can’t adjust to sudden changes in temperature.
• Seniors who take certain prescription medications are more susceptible to heat related injuries and illnesses.

“During the hot summer months, families really need to pay special attention to their elderly loved ones who are taking medications and may not understand the health risks,” says Rick Basch, President of SYNERGY HomeCare. “We strongly urge families to consult with their doctor or pharmacist regarding the potential impact of heat on any medications. If family members aren’t available, our Caregivers can be an excellent resource for monitoring any potentially adverse reactions to heat that a senior may experience.”

Prescription for Trouble

• Antidepressants and antihistamines act on an area of the brain that controls the skin’s ability to make sweat. Sweating is the body’s natural cooling system. If a person can’t sweat, they are at risk for overheating.
• Beta blockers reduce the ability of the heart and lungs to adapt to stresses, including hot weather. This also increases a person’s risk of heat stroke and other heat related illnesses.
• Amphetamines can raise body temperature.
• Diuretics act on kidneys and encourage fluid loss. This can quickly lead to dehydration in hot weather.
• Sedatives can reduce a person’s awareness of physical discomfort which means symptoms of heat stress may be ignored.
• Ephedrine/Pseudoephedrine found in over the counter decongestants decrease blood flow to the skin and impact the body’s ability to cool down.

“We want to do everything we can to ensure that our seniors don’t make the headlines this summer due to heat-related conditions,” says Basch. “Our Caregivers can be a lifesaver (literally), when it comes to keeping seniors well hydrated, cool and comfortable. They’re an extra set of eyes and when it really counts.”

Arizona ranks 23rd for senior health

Arizona ranked 23rd for senior health this year, according to the second edition of United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report.

healthreportNationwide, seniors are showing encouraging gains in key health measures and taking more steps to improve their own health. Notable gains for senior health include declines in physical inactivity, improvements in quality of nursing home care, reductions in avoidable hospitalizations, and increased preparation for end-of-life care.

“United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report is a valuable tool for measuring and understanding the key challenges and opportunities facing Arizona’s senior population,” said Robert Beauchamp, MD, Senior Medical Director, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “With the senior population expected to double in size in the next 25 years, it is important that we develop effective programs and solutions that address seniors’ health needs in Arizona and nationwide.”

Arizona’s Overall Health
The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report finds that Arizona has its share of strengths and challenges.

Arizona’s Strengths

  • Low prevalence of obesity
  • High use of hospice care
  • Low percentage of hospital deaths

Arizona’s Challenges

  • High prevalence of underweight seniors
  • Low percentage of volunteerism
  • Low flu vaccination coverage

50-State Snapshot: Minnesota the Healthiest State for Seniors
According to the report, Minnesota is the healthiest state for seniors for the second year in a row. Hawaii ranks second, followed by New Hampshire (3), Vermont (4) and Massachusetts (5). Mississippi is the least healthy state for seniors, followed by Louisiana (49), Kentucky (48), Oklahoma (47) and Arkansas (46).

To see the Rankings in full, visit: www.americashealthrankings.org/senior.

Nationwide: Seniors Progress in Key Health Measures
The report shows that seniors are more active compared to last year, with physical inactivity declining from 30.3 percent of the senior population to 28.7 percent. Other notable gains for senior health include a reduction in preventable hospitalizations, dropping from 66.6 discharges per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries to 64.9 discharges, and improvements in nursing home care, with quality nursing home beds rising from 42 percent of beds rated four or five stars to 46.8 percent. In addition, more seniors are planning for and using their preferred end-of-life care. The report shows utilization of hospice care increasing from 36.7 percent to 47.5 percent among seniors in need of late-stage care.

Rapidly Expanding Senior Population Poses Challenges
With the senior population poised to double in the next 25 years, states and local communities should continue to address unhealthy behaviors that threaten to compromise seniors’ health. More than 35 percent have four or more chronic conditions, while more than 25 percent of seniors are obese and 28 percent are physically inactive. Only about 60 percent of seniors received the flu vaccine in the last 12 months. Older adults will account for roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, making these challenges urgent.

“This year’s report shows important improvements,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation and chief medical officer and executive vice president, UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “Declines in physical inactivity are especially promising. We as a nation need to continue promoting healthy behaviors among seniors and work with states and communities to improve the health of this growing demographic.”

About America’s Health Rankings Senior Report
America’s Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities offers a comprehensive analysis of senior population health on a national and state-by-state basis across 34 measures of senior health. In commissioning the report, United Health Foundation seeks to promote discussion around the health of older Americans while driving communities, governments, stakeholders and individuals to take action to help improve senior health.

Researchers draw data from more than 12 government agencies and leading research organizations to create a focused, uniquely rich dataset for measuring senior health at the state level, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Labor, The Dartmouth Atlas Project, the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger and the Commonwealth Fund.

United Health Foundation also produces the annual America’s Health Rankings report. For 24 years, America’s Health Rankings has provided an analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data to determine national health benchmarks and state rankings. The Rankings employs a unique methodology, developed and annually reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of leading public health scholars.

For more information on both reports, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

Swanky Seniors - Sagewood, AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

Swanky Seniors

Sophisticated assisted living and senior care developments look more like resorts than the traditional ‘old folks home’

As America’s senior population swells to an unprecedented volume — 62 million seniors, almost double the number of seniors at the turn of the century — luxury senior care and assisted living development is on the rise in Arizona.

Thankfully, assisted living no longer means sending Mom where bingo is all she looks forward to. Many developers in the assisted living field are building contemporary, sophisticated senior care facilities to accommodate expensive tastes and active lifestyles. These residencies are opulent and lavish, more like resorts than the gloomy, industrialized “old folks homes” of decades past.

When considering livability factors, such as decreased mobility or heightened sensitivity to cold, Arizona’s flat terrain and temperate climate are a natural draw for seniors. In the past several years, senior housing has been the most active type of development in Scottsdale.

Anticipating the influx of a mammoth demographic, several senior care facilities are in the planning and developmental stages.

Orchard Pointe, a 104-unit assisted living apartment facility in Surprise, broke ground in March. Developed by Heritage Management Services and Telis Commercial Real Estate, Orchard Pointe will open in spring 2013.

Mark Huey, president of Telis Commercial Real Estate, says Orchard Pointe will “bring a Midwestern ethic of care and concern to the Valley, packaged in a high-luxury lifestyle.”

Mountain West Contracting is general contractor and RAR Architects is the architect.

In Tucson, The Freshwater Group is building a new assisted living community called Hacienda at the River.

Hacienda at the River will provide remarkable taste and services, from greenhouses on site to serve organic foods in dining facilities to an all-pets-welcome policy.

Hacienda will also raise horses on site for equine therapy for residents with memory affliction, dementia, and other animal therapy aids.

David Freshwater, president of the Freshwater Group, says the revolution in senior care is palpable.

“Our spas, workout rooms, and cafes look more like Starbucks and LA Fitness rather than the traditional old folks homes,” he says. “They really, truly have changed in design to reflect the different clientele than who we’ve been serving the last 25 years.”

Hacienda at the River is still in the design phase. “It will be assisted living, Alzheimer’s or what we call ‘memory care,’ as well as skilled nursing and rehabilitation,” Freshwater says.

Maravilla Scottsdale, which was scheduled to open in May, will also cater to epicurean tastes. Boasting multiple landscaped courtyards, a cinema, Internet lounge, chip-and-putt golf course, spa, and multiple dining venues, Maravilla Scottsdale is indisputably of the new generation of assisted living.

The 120,000 SF facility offers 178 apartment-style living units and 39 villa-type living units, plus common areas such as the lodge, fitness center, commercial kitchens, and an indoor swimming pool.

The Weitz Company is building Maravilla Scottsdale. It’s also the general contractor for Sagewood, a multi-phase retirement community comprised of 12 casitas, four villas and eight buildings housing independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing units in North Phoenix.

sagewoodSagewood offers diversity in the levels of care provided, often easing the transition from minimal to increased living assistance.

Future phase expansions are planned to complete this site’s development. Once completed, the community in its entirety will carry the promise of progressive living in an environment that emphasizes choice, flexibility and independence for its residents, says Kelly Billings of the Weitz Company.

Scottsdale’s The Colonnade, another resort-style assisted living facility, opened in 2004. Now, The Colonnade will break ground later this year on the second phase of construction, adding villa type housing units to its existing residencies.

The developer behind The Colonnade is Sun Health, an up-and-coming player in the healthcare industry.

“Our standard finishes are high end, including full GE appliance packages, wood line window covering, and ceramic tile flooring,” says Sharon Grambow, Sun Health’s senior living coordinator. “Residents can select premium package upgrades, including quartzite countertops and cherry cabinetry tile with diamond metal decorative inserts.”

Belmont Village Scottsdale, a three-story assisted living apartment building, contains of 136 units — 111 independent living apartments and 25 dementia care units — at the 100,000 SF facility. It sits on a 4.17-acre site with a courtyard pool and walking path.

Houston-based Belmont Village AP has 20 assisted living facilities in seven states, and opened its Scottsdale location in February. This project cost more than $30M, says Belmont CEO Patricia Will. Located southeast of 100th St. and Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., the community was built by W.E. O’Neil Construction.

Vi at Silverstone also opened in 2010 on 32 acres and offers 270 independent-living units to Northeast Valley seniors. Developed by The Plaza Companies, built by Summit Builders and designed by DAVIS, the $195M project is all about individual preferences.

More importantly, says Sharon Harper of The Plaza Companies, it offers seniors an abundance of choices.

“People have all kinds of choices in terms of size and location, and they really can customize what they would like,” Harper says. “There’s a vibrancy embedded in the neighborhood and the greater community and that creates excitement and the opportunity to continue to be educated. We offer innovation, fitness and overall wellness.”

AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

FreedomRefined.com - mobility products for seniors

Scottsdale Entrepreneur Launches FreedomRefined.com

Scottsdale entrepreneur Candyce Henry, an Arizona resident and former vice president of AT&T before continuing her career at Hewlett-Packard and American Express, found herself increasingly disenchanted by the lack of comprehensive retail outlets offering senior products to aid her mother and other family members. After extensive research of the market, Henry was compelled to found FreedomRefined.com, a web-based store offering all-encompassing solutions for the aging and physically impaired. Deep product categories include mobility products such as wheelchairs, medical walkers, bathroom safety, medical equipment, sleep disorder systems, bariatric and healthy living products that support freedom and independence.

“As both a daughter and a consumer, I knew there must be a better way to address the growing needs of mature individuals like my mother, by providing high levels of customer service with extended hours, information and products that exceed expectations,” according to Henry, CEO. “It became my mission to become part of the solution that preserves freedom and independence, even if it has to be refined to accommodate physical challenges.”

FreedomRefined.com will feature over 5,000 products when fully scaled, to aid both seniors and individuals of all ages who face mobility and health challenges including permanent and temporary disabilities, and morbid obesity. Highly respected brands have been selected based on quality, durability and comfort. Since the average caregiver in the U.S. is a 49-year-old woman who typically works at another job and has a family of her own to care for, highly trained and knowledgeable Relationship Managers will be available extended hours, seven days a week to serve as a support system. The FreedomRefined.com website itself features easy-to-navigate large, legible type with deep product categories grouped into good, better and best ratings. Products on the site are also accompanied by how-to videos, articles, and a directory of licensed and bonded companies that install ramps, lifts and renovate living environments.

“Our team is proud to launch a unique business model that delivers value through outstanding, compassionate service and the creation of long-term, trusted relationships with our customers,” Henry said.

To view their life-enhancing product lines, visit FreedomRefined.com or Facebook.com/FreedomRefined. Contact Customer Care at 602-374-1000 or toll free at 855-877-1010.

Piper Charitable Trust

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Launches ‘Piper Trust Encore Prize’

To recognize and build on the achievements of nonprofit and public sector organizations that engage the talent of people over 50 in “Encore” roles—Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust is launching the Piper Trust Encore Prize. “Mature adults that either want to retire or retool, have something of great value—experience—and as such, organizations are learning to tap their expertise in new ways”

The Encore concept—engaging people over 50 in roles that combine personal meaning with social impact—has been gaining popularity across the country, and particularly in Phoenix, as nearly 10,000 people each day turn 60 in the United States.

Piper Trust will award up to three $5,000 prizes to organizations; one of the three winning organizations may receive a $50,000 “Encore Enhancement Prize” in addition, to expand the organization’s use of Encore talent. The Piper Trust Encore Prize is anticipated to be awarded every other year.

“Since its inception, Piper Trust has strategically invested in programs and innovations that support older adults. The Piper Trust Encore Prize is a way for us to not only recognize our local organizations for the work they are doing to engage older adults in meaningful work—but to advance the growth and understanding of Encore roles and the tremendous impact they can have on individuals, organizations, communities, and society at large,” said Judy Jolley Mohraz, president and CEO, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.

“The first of 78 million baby boomers have begun to hit the traditional retirement age but many aren’t retiring in traditional ways—or for that matter at all,” said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO, Civic Ventures—a San Francisco-based nonprofit think tank focused on boomers, work, and social purpose. “Instead, tens of millions want to contribute in meaningful ways to their communities, using the skills and talents they have acquired over a lifetime.”

Nonprofit and public sector organizations within Maricopa County can apply (or be nominated by others) for the Encore Prize. The Encore Prize targets organizations that engage experienced older adults (age 50+) in making significant contributions to the organization’s work in paid and/or unpaid roles. Preference will be given to organizations that provide some form of compensation. Compensation is broadly viewed and can include health insurance, stipends, salary, living allowance, expense reimbursement (e.g., mileage, meals), office space, computer use, Wi-Fi, cell phones, administrative support or other creative benefits.

“Mature adults that either want to retire or retool, have something of great value—experience—and as such, organizations are learning to tap their expertise in new ways,” said Nora Hannah, CEO, Experience Matters and former business executive. Experience Matters is a Phoenix nonprofit focused on connecting talent with community needs. ”The benefits are threefold: the organization gets invaluable talent, the individual gets personal satisfaction from doing work that makes a difference, and ultimately the community advances closer to its goals of a better life for all its citizens.”

There are 1.1 million people in Maricopa County who are age 50 or older.

“We commend Piper Trust for taking this important step toward building a community that values all its citizens and invests in what older adults can give back,” added Freedman.

To apply or nominate an organization for a Piper Trust Encore Prize or for more information, visit: www.pipertrust.org/encore. Applications are due June 29, 2012 through the online portal. Prize awardees will be selected by mid-September 2012.

aging

Region Chosen For National Pilot Project On Aging

The MetLife Foundation and Partners for Livable Communities has selected the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the Greater Phoenix region to participate in the City Leaders Institute on Aging in Place, a new national pilot project striving to help people aged 65 years and more to live independently in their homes. The region was chosen as just one of five areas in the country to develop strategies over the next year that will help seniors age in place.

Penny Cuff, vice president for programs with Partners for Livable Communities, said the region was chosen based on its track record of innovative work in aging services. “The Greater Phoenix region is recognized as being a leader in meeting the needs of older adults. Recent achievements like the MAG Municipal Aging Services Project reflect a commitment to care for people as they age.”

The Municipal Aging Services Project, sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, developed a tool kit local governments can use when considering services for people aged 65 years and more. Extensive community engagement with more than 1,300 seniors reflected a keen desire to live independently in their homes, or age in place. Participants also expressed deep concern about the recession’s impact on their ability to remain in their homes.

The Institute will address these concerns by developing new strategies to help people age in place more successfully. Partners for Livable Communities will aid the region by recruiting national experts to assist the region throughout the next year. A regional, multidisciplinary team of local leaders will also guide the work of the Institute over the next year.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is a member of the team. “In the City of Phoenix and throughout the region, we have successful programs and services in place to serve older adults. Dramatic increases in the population and their diverse needs will affect what assistance is needed and how it can most effectively be given. I have been meeting with older adults to determine what we can do differently. Ensuring people can remain safe and healthy in their homes is one of my key priorities,” said Stanton.

Local funders share this priority as well. Carol Kratz, program director with the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and a member of the Institute’s team, emphasizes the need for strategic investments. “It has been a challenge to fully meet people’s needs due to economic conditions and increased demand for services—but business as usual is not an option. We need to be smart as funders and diligently look for new models that can meet needs more effectively,” said Kratz.

Mary Lynn Kasunic, president and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging, Region One, also sees the benefit of considering new ways of meeting needs, particularly in partnership with the community. “This Institute can help us determine a new model, one that engages older adults as part of the solution. They are often overlooked resources in our community,” she said.

Michelle Dionisio, president of Benevilla, a private nonprofit agency in Surprise, notes the benefits of engaging older adults to help meet needs. “Our more than 770 volunteers are the lifeline we have with the community,” she says. “Every day, people’s lives are better because of the assistance people give to their neighbors. We are going back to how we used to take care of each other. Meeting people’s needs is not just the responsibility of government or nonprofit agencies. It is everyone’s responsibility.”

Other communities participating in the City Leaders Institute on Aging in Place include San Diego, Miami, Arlington County in Virginia, and Montgomery County in Maryland.