The Best Guidance from the Aging Experts in 2016

Top Advice from our Aging Council in 2016

Family Caregiving

What should new family caregivers know about giving care before helping a loved one?

Getting started as a caregiver is overwhelming. First, focus on getting a clear picture of your senior's care needs. Then, estimate the costs and time needed to provide that level of care. Next, evaluate your time, financial situation, and ability to contribute to their care. Now you'll be able to create a realistic care plan and identify areas where you'll need additional support.

Connie Chow,

Share one example of a family or person/client who experienced higher quality of care as a result of having an open talk with loved ones about end-of-life care.

My family has always been open about end of life discussions. When my father's cancer was progressing, he called and enrolled himself in hospice and wrote his own eulogy. Before he slipped away, I asked him if we had unresolved issues and he said "no." He left detailed instructions for my mom, his wife of almost 60 years, on how to manage the things he took care of. The experience was powerful.

Marla Levie, Focus on Aging.


What's one not-so-well-known source of financial help for seniors that could assist them in paying for senior care?

Tragically, about 40% of seniors will lapse or surrender their life insurance policies, unaware that a third option exists-only about a dozen states require that you be informed. A life settlement is the sale of a policy for less than its face amount but more than its cash value. If you no longer need or cannot afford your policy, this is definitely worth a look. Just do your homework.

Stephen D. Foreman, Long-term Care Associates, LLC.

As we are in the midst of tax season - share any deductions or tax write-offs most caregivers or families with loved ones in long-term care fail to report?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has increased the allowable amount to deduct in 2016 for long-term care insurance, monthly premiums and other non-reimbursed medical expenses. The amount of allowed deduction is dependent on the tax payer's age at year-end. For additional information, please contact the local IRS office or your Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

David Mordehi,

What obstacles does our economy face over the next few decades from the impending aging population growth that need more attention?

In the United States, the senior population is growing faster than the number of youth. This trend may exacerbate the current trend where we have an increasing number of people needing care and a shrinking number of potential caregivers. Our younger working adults need to earn high enough income so that the taxes they pay will be high enough to support the services seniors need.

Margo Rose,

What do you feel is the most pressing issue with regards to seniors that you want President Elect Donald Trump to address?

He will be great for seniors. President Trump will need to make sure Medicare, Medicaid, etc. are properly funded and that the nation's elderly are not forced out of the important care of doctors and lose prescription benefits. So important!

Bryan London,

Healthy Aging

Health is a local effort. What city/state in your opinion does a good job in educating seniors in the areas of healthy lifestyles? What specific programs do they offer and what are the outcomes?

The University of Maine in Orono, Maine's Center on Aging offers a three-part educational program that promotes life-long learning for older Maine citizens, trains Maine professionals on age related topics and provides continuing education for the state's medical, health and social service providers. It also offers research & evaluation and community services.

Gail Steinberg,

While society works tirelessly to minimize the first signs of aging and believe that happiness is closely related to youthful looks and the mere thought of getting older is shunned. What older individual, who you know personally, has refuted society's perception of aging?

How does that person behave and what do you admire most about them?Aging is natural. Why try to hide it? Or at least that is what my Aunt would say. As soon as the first gray hair popped out, she decided that she would welcome each with open arms. "They're my badges of honor," she would say. Now at 74, she often talks to us about how we shouldn't be afraid of growing old. "See it as a privilege to have lived a long life. After all, not many have the honor."

Samantha Stein,

What activities should adults over 80 perform to stay well and active?

The seniors who are aging well are the ones who remain active and keep moving, keep up with their social connections and family, eat anything they want but in moderation and volunteer in the community. Most have a positive outlook, as well.

Laurie Miller,


Loneliness and social isolation are big problems for older adults and usually caused by restricted mobility. The ones that feel the most pain live in suburbia or rural areas. What services can we offer to help them be more connected socially?

A great way for rural or homebound seniors to feel connected is using technology to virtually attend a senior center! They will need help to start the connection but once they begin they are a part from afar! A deeper friendship can grow via telephone, email, social media or video chat. Participating with peers will greatly relieve loneliness and give sense of purpose.

Kathy Birkett,

There are record numbers of people 65+ living alone in the U.S. (over 30% in every city.) Living alone adds to the issues of isolation and affordable housing. Do you believe city and state governments are aware of these issues?

Name one city/state who is doing something about it.San Francisco is trying to address the issue of "the unfriended" meaning an individual who doesn't have someone within 50 miles of where they live who can help care for them. Helping all public institutions to be aware of problems, e.g. bus drivers, restaurants, fire/police, helps these people how to access help.

Donna Schempp, Caregiving Alliance.

Social isolation causes higher risks of falls, additional chronic diseases, depression, and interfere with healthy aging. List ways families, friends, neighbors, and people in the community can spot when "isolation" is an issue for an individual?

Feelings of loneliness are a tremendous challenge in older adults. Several ways to detect loneliness are: verbal outpouring; prolonged holding of hand/arms; body language (defeated demeanor; tightly crossed arms/legs), etc.

Michelle Jeong, LifeAssist.

More than a quarter of seniors live alone, and the number of seniors living alone in any given city is only going to increase. What advice do you have for the local mayor or city leaders to help lead the city in better supporting seniors that are alone?

Local city leaders need to start creating programs to support seniors. Offering low-price transportation options, creating senior centers, and designing other outreach programs will allow seniors to maintain their independence while still feeling supported by the community. Providing opportunities for seniors to give back can also be helpful in reducing feelings of isolation.

Ben Mandelbaum,

Long-Term Planning

Share the strategy or plan that a client put in place as a result of the end-of-life care discussions, that helped trigger an easier transition and enhanced quality of care?

Recently, a gentleman called because he just received a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.He felt like his life was already becoming less of his own. Within a week of diagnosis, he hired an elder law attorney to help him prepare his powers of attorney, complete his estate plan, will and trust documents. By taking action immediately, he was able to participate in the decision-making process.

Kerry Peck, Peck Ritchey, LLC.

Medicare's ruling on paying doctors to have end-of-life conversations with patients have raised controversy by professionals. They believe that doctors are not prepared for the task. Are doctors prepared to have conversations about advance care planning?

I don't think it is the doctor's responsibility to have these conversations. Doctors should focus on medicine and partner up with social workers or senior advocates who are better trained to handle the of end-of-life planning.

Admond Fong,

In your experience of the White House Conference on Aging, name one significant opportunity missed during the conference?

Strengthening Social Security and finding ways to protect pensions and Medicare were not covered nearly enough. In addition, the agenda overlooks our diversified older population (including ethnic, non-white, and LGBT elders). It's imperative to focus on retirement security, prevention of elder financial exploitation and abuse, and long-term services and supports.

Evan Farr, Farr Law Firm.

As the population ages, what trends do you see occurring in senior care and living to handle the growing numbers?

I see a lot more technology being used. Driver-less cars are coming and will help many seniors to age in place. The ability for the adult child to connect virtually to see how an aging parent is doing and to interact during the day will also help keep people home. More independent living communities with services like meals, transportation and an on site home care company will thrive.

Kathryn Watson,

How do you, geriatric professionals encourage and help elders to find substance, happiness, healing, inspiration, purpose and fulfillment? How do you shift focus away from decline, deficiency and loss in late life to encourage growth and possibility?

Many older adults will not only desire to keep working beyond the traditional retirement age, they will need to due to inadequate retirement savings. The workplace will need to accommodate them or face a dearth of qualified workers. Phased retirement, job sharing, and seasonal work are just some of the interesting options that could be made available.

Betsie Sassen, Capitol Consulting, LLC.


Identify those local organizations found in most cities that offer the elderly population support but are seldom utilized or unknown to most?

There is a statewide Network of Respite Resource Centers that focus on ensuring that caregivers have access to trained respite care providers. Families can apply for subsidies that may help them cover all or part of the respite they receive. The National Respite Coalition is a national initiative that focuses on preserving and promoting respite in policy and programs at the national, state, and local levels.

Dr. Eboni Greene,

Give tips and advice on how people can start to build their support team early to avoid frantic decisions during an emergency.

Most people calling for a Patient Advocate face an emergency. I find that those same people have been helping their family and neighbors to create support teams, but now that it's them, they tell me that it's mortifying to them that now they need to ask for help. Joining support groups early is the best way to hear about all the resources before you face an emergency.

Caryn Isaacs,

There are many services and non-profits designed to help older adults and their caregivers. However, most focus on a specific area. In an event of a crisis, name two or three local resources that adults can turn to for help?

The Family Caregiver Alliance ( has an interactive map where you can click your state, and it will guide you to local resources. The Eldercare Locator ( is a service that allows users to search for resources and information. The Family Caregiver Council ( is a great place to start as it has links for all aspects of family caregiving.

David Inns, Great Call Inc.


What technology would you build to transform the senior care industry, if given an unlimited budget and the best tech team?

When we first deployed our scheduling tools and mobile App technology to the problem of transportation one of the most common comments we received was that the aging population does not have technology. But we found that the real problem was usability. A better focus on making Apps easier to use for would be a tremendous step forward in transforming all aspects of Senior Care.

Harsh Wanigaratne,

Name one online resource that the elderly can use to get suggestions for offline activities that can alleviate loneliness and depression?

Meetup has groups specifically for seniors. This is a fun way to meet new people, interact with groups who share a common goal/interests and there's always some type of fun activity or event. Meetup has helped many people (young old) make new friends and alleviate loneliness and depression.

Gjenes Belamide, Bay Area Medical Alarm.

What's one thing technology can do to solve the "caregiver" shortage?

Not so much new technology but more seniors should have iPads and know how to navigate them and the internet. It opens up a whole new world for them and has benefits that researchers are only beginning to discover. Add that to the presidential platform. A tablet in every senior's hands.

Anthony Cirillo,

Rural older adults desire to age in place, yet few studies identify ways to improve growing older in remote locations. Can you identify at least four actions that aging professionals and technology groups can take to support healthy and connected aging in these far-removed areas?

Major factors influencing health include: mental and physical health, functional ability, lifestyle choices, socioeconomic status, and access to health care. Technology is capable of monitoring and capturing health data through electronic health records, and personal health records. But we need financial investment.

Rein Tideiksaar, Fall Prevention Expert.


Name organizations whose mission is to create jobs or keep seniors in the workforce? What industries could benefit from the experienced workers?

Adecco, including Sacramento CA area, provides part-time and temporary job options for boomers and seniors who want to have a flex-work option while enjoying more free time. "Adecco's commitment to helping mature workers find meaningful work and recognized by AARP.

Kaye Swain,

Knowing the huge numbers of boomers turning 65, what industriesare affectedmost by the large population? Cite two or three examples of the changes they can make at this tine to adjust to its numbers?

Home care already sees the strain of labor to meet the needs and will need to continually get more efficient especially through the use of technology. Facilities of all types will need to modify services (and even environments) to appeal to this different generation of customers. Health and wellness services and products have massive potential...65 is no longer "old" and there's a huge active group who will seek ways to stay active and well.

Shannon Martin, Aging Wisely.

Before the end of 2016, the 65 and over population will reach 50,000,000 in the U.S. alone. What industries will the large segment affect, explain how?

Government: Social Security remains unsustainable due to sheer numbers. We've long outgrown it. Healthcare: we are woefully unprepared and yet we continue to treat and suspend entire industries on the focus of youth and longevity. We lost quality to quantity. Marketing has fed and shaped our culture, and sadly they may prevail. Housing: again we are behind the eight ball in planning and access."

Nancy Ruffner, NavigateNC

In November, the U.S. Population will reach a milestone of 50 million seniors (those 65+). What's your initial reaction to hearing the U.S. has reached this number of seniors?

Education, mentoring and non-physical consultants are areas best suited for our aging community. Don't just think about schools or teaching when it comes to these areas. For example, when you come from the construction industry, you can add value to home improvement store or be in design consulting."

Scot Cheben,


What local organization has a rich base of volunteers that we could utilize?

My favorite hot spot for supporting elderly residents is the local high school; students learn the value of helping others; elders gain increased social interaction; and teachers never run out of projects -- there are always lawns to mow, fences to paint, and leaves to rake. I know a high-school student who practices her piano at the home of her elderly neighbor, filling her home with the joy of music.

Joy Loverde, The Eldercare Planner.

Name one or two ways to promote the growing older population as a world's growing natural resource?

In the information age we live in today, we need to tap into the knowledge of older adults. People are working longer, well past the traditional retirement age and this should grow, as more people can do consulting and bring knowledge to our companies (and via volunteerism, etc.) through the web.

Alex Chamberlain,

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