Helpful apps for seniors

8 tech solutions to maintain independence and give caregivers peace of mind

By Jeff Salter for Next Avenue

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Every day for the last 24 years, I’ve worked with the elderly and, by extension, with their families. As the founder of Caring Senior Service, a non-medical in-home care provider, my goal is to ensure that people can age with dignity in their own homes and to reassure families that their loved ones are safe and secure. Increasingly, technology helps on both fronts.


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The importance of listening to the person with dementia

We need to hear well before the voice is silenced by the disease

By Mike Good for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

(Editor’s Note: This is the eighth in a series examining and interpreting a commonly used “bill of rights” for dementia patients.) 

People with Alzheimer’s or other dementia are an invaluable part of our society. Millions of them are brilliant, wise and actively advocating for their rights and needs.

As my friend with Alzheimer’s, David Kramer said, “It’s not something that necessarily makes us idiots.” No it doesn’t, but unfortunately the vast majority of people don’t understand the disease, and therefore, don’t know how to listen to the person with dementia.

Just like anyone else with unique challenges and special needs, people with dementia need to be able to communicate their needs, wants and fears without being judged.


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It happens to the best of us: I’m not cool anymore

Despair turns to hope during a humdrum trip to the grocery store

By Peter Gerstenzang for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

A few mornings ago, I saw a reflection of myself and had to summon every bit of strength to keep from shrieking. What was staring back at me, from a darkened winter window, was sad, morally repugnant and just plain creepy.

As I caught a glimpse of myself on the NordicTrack, wearing a velour sweatsuit and horn-rimmed glasses so I could watch CNBC, I had the most unsettling epiphany: I’m not cool anymore.

I looked beyond the window at my snow-covered suburban lawn and wondered what had happened to my rebellious nature. Where was the guy who once wore mirror shades and motorcycle boots, whose long hair was held in place by a bandana? How did he morph into the guy who was exercising before dawn? Who chugged prune juice? And now dressed like senile mobster, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante? I did not know. And I was bummed about it.


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Sterling earns zero-deficiency rating

Sterling Presbyterian Manor earned a zero-deficiency survey from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services following its annual inspection September 15, 2016.

“We are very proud of our staff’s achievement,” said Michael Rajewski, executive director. “It is their commitment to our mission and residents that led to a deficiency-free community. By being blessed with a great team that is dedicated to Sterling Presbyterian Manor and each other, we’ve created a foundation that enables us to provide quality services for seniors every day.”

Each year, senior living communities are surveyed by their licensing agency for compliance of regulations established by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. These regulations, which number in the hundreds, are designed to ensure a standard of care is met. By meeting this standard, senior living communities are able to renew their licenses and continue to provide care.

There are 17 major areas assessed, which include quality of care and physical environment. The surveyors look at every aspect of a resident’s life, from dietary choices, to dental care; from frequency of physician visits to ease of access to their mail.

“Being recognized as a deficiency-free community offers evidence of the staff’s compassion and desire to make Sterling Presbyterian Manor a place our residents are honored to call home,” Rajewski said.

The achievement by Sterling Presbyterian Manor places the retirement community in the top tier of survey performances in Kansas.  For more information about Sterling Presbyterian Manor, contact Cindy Moore, marketing director, at 620-278-3651 or cmoore@pmma.org.

Art and friendship make powerful tools to fight ageism

College students and older adults become ‘pals’ in this creative arts program

By Linda Bernstein for Next Avenue

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Credit: paletteprogram.org Caption: PALETTE participants bridge the generations

“Whom would I meet? What would I say? Would I seem dorky?” These were Rena Berlin’s concerns before she met her Partner in Art Learning, the new “pal” she’d been matched with through a program that pairs a college student with an older adult to create art.

“For the first time in my life I really felt like a senior,” says the 68-year-old educator from Richmond, Va., with a laugh. “They were transporting a small group of us from the Weinstein Jewish Community Center in a van to the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. A van. That mean’s you’re getting old. I was also nervous.”

It turns out she had nothing to worry about. “After my PAL and I got started, it was amazing,” she says.


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Chaplain: Your comfort zone, God’s starting blocks

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA By Ken Conner, Sterling Presbyterian Manor chaplain

We tend to think of comfort zones as good things that represent safety and rest. However, they can lead to complacency and an attitude of “we have never done it that way.” Starting blocks are great for starting a sprint race from, but get very uncomfortable very fast if you stay in them for too long.

Throughout scripture we have examples of God using a person’s comfort zone as starting blocks to accomplish his purpose. Starting in Genesis we see Noah, who God moves out of his comfort zone to become a ship builder and a zoo keeper. Then he calls Abraham to leave all he has known to go to a land he has never seen. He also says he will make him the father of a nation, which is huge since he and his wife, Sarah, are old and childless.

So, what is your comfort zone? How long have you been residing there? What has God been calling you to do? Get ready! Your comfort zone may well be the starting blocks God will use to start you on a new adventure.

Elvis for President

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By Donna Grizzle, Activity Director

Three words to describe a recent fun event we had are “Elvis for President.”

It was requested a few months back that I throw an Elvis week onto the event calendar. So, as any good Activity Director would do, I listened to my constituents (aka residents), and I looked into when would be the best week. I was thinking “oh his birthday week would be good” but not only is that in January, and I did not think they could make it that long, but it appears that the biggest Elvis celebration week is actually the week leading up to his infamous August 16th death.

Apparently during “tribute week” Elvis fans shut down Memphis! The Hard Rock Café hosts Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contests, the Elvis Memorial Trauma Center hosts receptions, Hound Dog Tours show you around to all of Elvis’ favorite spots, there is a 5k run in honor of The King. The University of Memphis hosts a memorial service, and the Heartbreak Hotel hosts Elvis Bingo! If only we lived close enough to take our residents to that!

During this week as well, Graceland is of course overflowing with visitors and events including Elvis fashion shows, Elvis 101 Trivia Contests, an Elvis Sock Hop, an auction, an Official Insiders Conference, fan club gatherings, concerts, and a candlelight vigil.

We paled in comparison to Memphis, but we did certainly get in the rock ‘n roll spirit of Elvis here at the manor. From Elvis themed trivia Wheel of Fortune, to afternoon matinees, movie nights, a different theme dress up day each day, love songs playing at mealtimes and even a visitation from Elvis himself during bingo, we kept the glittering spirit alive! We have officially decided that in this year’s election, we’re voting the talented, multifaceted, hip shakin’ Elvis for President!

To all that helped out, shed some sweat and sprayed themselves down with hair spray and sparkled with glitter (that I’m still trying to get out of my hair), the only thing left to say is “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

The secret to a long marriage

Our relationship is different from our parents’ but just as lasting

By Candy Schulman for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

When I mention I recently celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary, friends stare incredulously as if to say, “How is that possible?” I joke that I was a child bride in an arranged marriage, sold with a dowry to the highest bidder. The truth is I did vow “I do” at 23.

My husband, Steve, and I married young and had a child late.


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4 life lessons from Tony Bennett and other 89-year-olds

Bennett and Dick Van Dyke are going strong and happy

By Liz Fedor for Next Avenue

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Caption: Tony with his son Danny, 2007 Grammy Awards

Singer Tony Bennett, at 89, isn’t resting on his laurels.

He recently released a new album, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. In an interview with NPR, he recalled how much he loved singing for his relatives as a boy. “It created a passion in my life that exists to this moment as I speak to you, that is stronger now at 89 than in my whole life,” Bennett said. “I still feel that I can get better somehow. And I search for it all of the time.”

Bennett’s not the only 89-year-old who is defying stereotypes of older age.  Actor Dick Van Dyke  just wrote a memoir titled Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging.  Queen Elizabeth continues to carry out the royal responsibilities she inherited in 1952. And Marilyn Hagerty, my friend and former colleague, continues to write regularly for the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald.

Their daily lives offer four lessons for all people of all ages:


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Fiftysomething diet: 7 trendy (and healthy?) foods

They are getting a lot of attention and may even be good for you

By Maureen Callahan for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

In the never-ending parade of new food products that make headlines every year, there are always a few that catch on and become trendy, almost fashionable. They are options that beg to be included in any healthy diet.

The question is: Are they worth bringing to the table? Put another way, will they help you age more gracefully and do they have unique nutritional benefits?

Here’s a look at seven of the trendiest edible offerings that people are talking about around the water cooler, at book clubs and in the coffee shop, along with details on what they do and don’t offer when it comes to health, nutrition and disease prevention:


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