ParentCare » Vol.18

Caregiving Now!

Research, Trends, and Products

By Erin Hansen

As the site’s tagline says, Senior Connection is “…Providing Information To Help Seniors & Their Caregivers Help Themselves.”  Under the auspices of the Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging, Senior Connection offers wonderfully comprehensive and useful links/information for both elders and their caretakers.  Each of the below primary links on the site leads to many secondary links.

About CMAA
Agency News
Family Caregiver Support Program
Guide to Elder Services
Information and Referral
Planning & Allocation
Publications and Brochures

Be sure to check the CMAA Calendar of Events often as it is updated frequently.


We all know the value of exercise,that it is extremely beneficial in building and maintaining healthy bodies and minds, and older individuals are no exception; the problem is that they are slow to start and many never even attempt it. Just getting started may be the biggest hurdle, but Rick Smith, M.D., medical director of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, claiming to house more 90-year olds than any other, has ten easy steps that he finds are working to get older people out of bed and moving.

He believes the key to longevity after genetics is simple: get out of bed. If you don’t, he cautions, you “…run the risk of falling prey to many of the serious maladies that occur with aging and prolonged inactivity.”

For the most part, according to Dr. Smith, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn’t happen just because they have aged. More likely, it is because they have become inactive. Older inactive adults lose ground in four areas that are important to staying healthy and independent ~ endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.

“When you walk through our campuses,” Dr. Smith said, “one thing is always surprising to visitors ~ the fact that the vast majority of our nearly 1,000 residents aren’t in their rooms. We partner with them to find a wide variety of activities and exercises, which is vital to longer living.”

Here are Smith’s “Ten Get-Out-of-Bed Exercise Tips to Longer Living.” Depending upon the physical condition of the elder, a caretaker or younger member of the family should be involved in and present for ALL exercising.

1.    Try; just showing up is half the battle.
2.    Have an exercise buddy.
3.    Start slow. It’s the effort that counts.
4.    Give yourself physical activity “homework assignments,” and look for ways to build physical   activity into your daily routine.
5.    Think of exercise sessions as “appointments” that you must keep.
6.    When you can’t keep your “appointment,” don’t be too hard on yourself.
7.    Keep a record of what you do and your progress. It’s fun to chart victories.
8.    If you stop exercising for several weeks and then return, start out at about half the effort you were putting into it when you stopped.
9.    Wear supportive, comfortable shoes.
10.    Build a routine around stretching, walking and strength training.

“Muscle strength declines by 15 percent per decade after age 50,” Dr. Smith  noted, and “30 percent per decade after age 70. However, resistance training can result in 25 to 100 percent, or more, strength gains in older adults.”

Dr. Smith points out that exercise also addresses another key issue with seniors: it reduces the risk of depression and lessens the severity of depressive symptoms. “Some believe that often moderate regular exercise may be just as helpful in combating serious depression in older people as antidepressant medication,” he said.

Physical activity can be good medicine, but Dr. Smith recommends that everyone, especially the elderly, check with their doctor before starting any exercise program.

Thanks to

The Official Website of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs

The official website of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs offers a wealth of information including these main topics:

Assisted Living
The Office of Elder Affairs certifies Assisted Living Residences in Massachusetts and offers the Assisted Living Ombudsman Program to provide advocacy, information and complaint resolution to consumers.

Some of the links you’ll find include: Assisted Living Program Overview, Cost for the Assisted Living Program, Resident Informed Consent Form, List of residences by town A-L, List of residences by town M-Z, Assisted Living Ombudsman, A Consumer’s Guide

Supportive Housing
The Supportive Housing Initiative was developed by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (Elder Affairs) and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to create an “assisted living like” environment in state funded public elderly/disabled housing.

On that section’s home page you’ll find links to: Supportive Housing Initiative Program Overview, Program Administration/Service Delivery, Program Sites. You’ll also find details and specifics regarding the program and an alphabetical list of sites that participate in the Supportive Housing Program

Congregate Housing
Congregate Housing is a shared living environment designed to integrate the housing and services needs of elders and younger disabled individuals. The goal of Congregate Housing is to increase self-sufficiency through the provision of supportive services in a residential setting. Congregate Housing is neither a nursing home nor a medical care facility.

On the webpage, you’ll be offered the following links as options:
·    Congregate Housing overview
·    Eligibility for Congregate Housing
·    List of contractors and sites for Congregate Housing

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

CCRCs are different from other types of senior housing because these communities provide housing, personal services, and health care, usually at one location. CCRCs offer an environment and the services necessary for residents to “age in place”. In other words, as a person’s personal and health care needs change, they are able to remain at the retirement community.

From there, you can choose to further research any of the following links:  CCRC overview, Who should consider a CCRC?,CCRC general services and amenities, Issues with general services and amenities at a CCRC, CCRC health care services, Issues with health care services, CCRC financial considerations, CCRC issues with financial considerations, Sites in Massachusetts for a CCRC

Elder Affairs provides support and information to elder care service providers as well as facility developers.  On the webpage, you can choose from two options:
·    For Assisted Living Service Providers
·    For Affordable Assisted Living Developers

Reverse Mortgage Counselors
The home page will display a list of reverse mortgage counseling programs approved by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide required reverse mortgage counseling to Massachusetts residents.  This list was current as of March 2, 2010 and reflects certain changes as a result of the implementation of new HUD regulations pertaining to HECM reverse mortgage counseling.  It’s a good idea to check this list frequently for updates and additions.

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