Loneliness: A Big Issue for Seniors

Many seniors and older adults feel disconnected from society and lose relationships as they get older. There are several of reasons for isolation in the lives of seniors. For example, retired individuals and couples can choose to move into a senior-only community, but their new home is little ways from their children and friends, thus getting less visitors throughout the years.

According to an article by AARP, a study by the University of California, San Francisco, found that about 43% of adults older than 65 felt lonely. The article quotes other studies that prove that feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to serious health issues, and even increase the risk of mortality. For example, there are instances where after one of the elderly couple passes away, the other one “follows” and passes too.

The article also quotes the director of the University of Chicago Center for Cognitive & Social Neurosciences, who stated that loneliness is not a permanent feeling, and should be treated like physical pain or hunger. By viewing loneliness as a temporary state of mind, seniors can “treat themselves” by being proactive in their daily lives to maintain old relationships and establish new ones.

If you are a senior and are looking for ways to reconnect with society, consider the following ideas: visit or volunteer at your local community centers (senior center, animal shelter, youth center, public library, etc.), reconnect with your old friends or coworkers, or reach out to your neighbors and (extended) family. Interacting with others will give you a sense of presence in your community, and can lead to the establishment of meaningful relationships. Don’t hesitate to call your local office on aging to get more ideas on community activities and events.

If you know any seniors, whether they are your family, friends or neighbors, it helps to pay them a visit every now and then. Invite them over for tea or dinner, ask them to tell you their life stories, go on light walks, or even run errands together. Chances are, you will gain new knowledge and perspectives by spending time with seniors. Keep in mind that even small interactions or gestures can go a long way.

Reference: http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/isolation-loneliness-impacts-seniors-fd.html

Mobile Home Improvements that Can Help Seniors Stay Independent and in their Home longer.

No one wants to have to leave their home because it has become too hard to get around or reach things. Even the healthiest seniors can struggle with things that they have never had to worry about before. Here are a few improvements that can keep your home from becoming a hindrance as you age.

Bathroom Improvements

  • Falls usually happen while getting in or out of the bathtub. Installing handles and a non-skid latex mat inside and outside will reduce the chances.
  • Elevated toilets help people that find it hard to squat, bend, sit or stand. It’s a good idea to have grab bars anchored to the wall and floor beside the toilet, too.
  • Set the thermostat on the water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees to prevent burns.
  • Store toiletries, first aid supplies and other bathroom necessities at waist level where they limit bending, stooping or stretching. (This is true for all rooms.)
  • Consider a tub seat or walk-in shower unit.

Kitchen Improvements

  • Raise the dishwasher so bending is not needed for loading and unloading.
  • Use multi-level counter heights with open space beneath to allow for sitting.
  • Replace higher cabinets with lower shelving or drawers. Often used items should be handy.
  • Install a wall oven, lowered for comfortable use. Use a countertop range, lower the height for ease of use.
  • Flat surfaces around the stove are easier to clean and allow sliding of heavy pots instead of lifting.

Other Rooms

  • Replace doorknobs and faucets with lever handles.
  • No step threshold can decrease falls.
  • Building walk-in closets with multiple heights allows easy reaching.
  • Install rocker light switches that are easier to turn on and off compared to the old fashioned flip switch.
  • Make sure there is ample room to maneuver easily between furniture and walls.

Remodels can be expensive but if you do a little at a time the cost of these updates are manageable AND will cost far less in the long run than an assisted living facility.

Need Help Paying for your Prescriptions

There is a Medicare program in place that can help you pay for your much needed prescriptions. As is the case with most programs there are a few eligibility guidelines.

Single: You must make less than $17,235 a year and have resources less than $13,300

Married: You must make less than $23,265 a year and have resources less than $26,580

If you qualify you could have a lowered or no deductible, low or no premium and no coverage gap. The end result will be you paying significantly less for prescriptions you need! Visit www.benefitscheckup.org to apply now.

The reason behind the move from Senior to All Age parks.

The typical mobile home parks built in the Southern California region in the 1960’s and 70’s were build as senior parks to attract persons age 55 and older.  The typical home buyers were looking for a more carefree lifestyle that reduced home maintenance responsibilities and neighbors with similar interests.  Most communities provided clubhouses where residents gathered for various activities.

In 1988 the Federal Government Amended the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination of the basis of disability and familial status.  With the act, Congress intended to also preserve housing specifically designed to meet the needs of senior citizens and exempted from the law’s familial status requirements “housing for older persons” provided that the facilities provided “significant services and facilities for seniors and provided that:

• HUD has determined that the dwelling is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program, or
• It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or,
• It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

As a result of the change in housing laws and the added requirement to provide “significant services and facilities”in order to qualify as a “senior facility”, many mobile home parks determined that they could not qualify as a senior facility and changed to all age communities.  The Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA) got rid of the initial requirements for “significant services and facilities” for senior housing, however, by that time the demand for housing for families began to provide further incentives for mobile home parks to transition from senior to all-age communities.