Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Found the Perfect Place for Mom and Dad- Now What?

You have most likely just navigated some very important decisions regarding the care of your loved one. You now have several additional decisions to make about their new home and lifestyle changes. This following suggestions are designed to help you “organize” your thoughts and help you plan for the next steps.

Is there a home to sell? If your loved one owns a home, planning and preparation for selling the home must begin soon, especially if the funds from the sale of the home will be used to finance new living accommodations. The first professional you need to talk with is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. These Realtor's have received specific training and education to address the needs of home buyers and sellers 50+. You can locate an agent by browsing The Senior List category of "Real Estate Services" in your city and state or visit the SRES website.

Is the home filled with years of personal and meaningful possessions? Does the task of packing, deciding what to keep and what to give away seem overwhelming? Most of us have a lot of stuff: furniture, kitchen accessories, clothes, hobbies, linens, and everything else that we accumulate throughout our life-time. There are a variety of services available to assist with organizing belongings and helping with the tedious task of deciding what to keep, what to pass on, what to donate, and what to simply throw away. Again, check the listings on The Senior List for local Senior Move Managers in your area, or visit the official National Association of Senior Move Managers site.

Is there a car or two? Most care communities have transportation available for the residents. If your loved still drives, they only need one car, if that. If you are concerned about driving abilities or safety, now is the perfect time to encourage your loved one to let go of the wheels. You may be able to find a non-profit in your area that will accept donated cars and your loved one will benefit from the tax credit.

Prior to move-in to any care community, they will be requesting copies of your loved one's advanced directives, power of attorney documents, and any other health directives. If these documents are already in place, now is a great time to review them with your loved one to ensure they are up to date and accurately reflect their wishes. If these documents are not in place, you must have them before move-in takes place. In fact, everyone, regardless of age, should have these documents. If you need assistance with these legal forms, I recommend you contact an elder law attorney. You can find these specialists on The Senior List or visit the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney's.

These are tough decisions and tasks for any individual to complete on their own. These resources will alleviate stress and anxiety for families and seniors alike during this difficult transition time.

Amie Clark, Co-Founder, The Senior

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Communication is Key to Better Care, Happy Families

You are traveling. Your mom is in an assisted living community. She isn't sleeping well or taking her medications. You have three sisters, who also lead busy lives. You are constantly playing phone tag between flights and meetings to find out the most recent update about her health and in turn, call each of your sisters to keep them up to date. Sound familiar?

Communication with care providers continues to be a full time job for many family members who are the primary contact for their loved one. As a family liaison myself, I am all too familiar with the time-sucker of phone tag, waiting on hold, and talking to several caregivers before I can get to the bottom of the issue for my clients. "Medications need refills, didn't eat lunch, won't take a shower, wants to go out for lunch, yelled at table mate, didn't sleep well, having a good day, needs new undershirts" were all separate phone calls I fielded during the course of a week for one client. Once I received the information from the care providers, I was then in charge of notifying the family and care team. I estimate that in one week, I spent at least an hour per issue between talking with the care providers, dealing with the issue, and reporting back to family members. So, you can imagine how thrilled I am to write about a company that will solve my communication woes.

Connect for Healthcare, in very simple terms, improves communication between care providers and families. How? Connect for Healthcare allows families to choose their preferred method of contact, email, text, or through a very well designed, easy to use, web portal. The founder, Neil Moore created the service after dealing with his own communication issues while his father resided in an assisted living facility.

"Connect for Healthcare is an inexpensive, easy-to-use, subscription-based web service that uses modern technologies - the Internet, e-mail and text messaging - to create and maintain a new and vital link between families and their loved ones in long-term care. It enables care providers to easily give regular, proactive, specific wellness updates to family members and loved ones no matter where they might be in the world. The family benefits by staying better informed and feeling more connected, their loved ones in long-term care benefit because the better informed and more engaged the family is, the better care they can receive, and the provider benefits by having a simple, one-step method of giving families what they really want."

What I like most about Connect for Healthcare is that each family member can be notified through their preferred method of communication, without any work from the primary family communicator. The family web portal allows families to not only establish their preferred contact method, but to designate what they would like to be notified about. Each client profile is tailored specifically to the client, family, and care provider.

For care providers, using Connect for Healthcare as a tool to communicate with families will save staff time, decrease communication errors, and in many cases, will simplify documentation and charting. Many long term care providers are offering Connect for Healthcare to the families they serve as an additional feature of their community. Families may also request Connect for Healthcare to be set up for their loved one, costs range anywhere from $15-$37 per month. To find out more about pricing or to view a tutorial of the program, visit

Amie Clark, Co-Founder, The Senior List